How many different types of chocolate have you tried in your lifetime? Chocolate comes in different shapes and forms, so you’re always left with a series of choices to make. Do you like eating creamy, sweet bars of milk chocolate? Or do you prefer chocolate milkshakes?
If you will pretty much eat anything with chocolate, but are looking for a healthier alternative to satisfy your cravings, then you should try cacao.
Cacao looks a lot like “cocoa,” but the two are actually very different. According to Obsev, “cacao” refers to the raw form of chocolate. The cacao bean is the source of both cacao and cocoa powders, which means that the powdered cacao and the cacao nibs you see in grocery stores are chocolate in its “uncooked, additive free, and unprocessed” state. On the other hand, cocoa and other forms of chocolate are roasted and processed with extra sweeteners and additives.
Here are some reasons you should start eating more cacao.
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According to Livestrong, cacao has healthy antioxidants that can boost your health and “possibly even help you live longer.” In addition, Livestrong writes that cacao nibs are high in flavonoid content. Flavonoids are antioxidants that can be found in tea, grapes and berries. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, flavonoids have been found to “improve health by altering cell-signaling pathways.” Although more research is needed on the health benefits of flavonoids, Livestrong says some studies have suggested that flavonoids might help prevent cancer and brain diseases.
In addition, a study by the British Journal of Nutrition found that people who eat cocoa had improved cardiovascular function and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Livestrong does write that although correlation is not causation, eating cacao for its antioxidants can’t hurt.
Livestrong also praises cacao for being a lower-calorie snack. According to the website, one ounce of cacao nibs contains around 130 calories while the same size service of dark chocolate or milk chocolate has 155 calories. In addition, because cacao isn’t as processed as other forms of chocolate, it is sugar-free and contain more fiber. Cacao has about 11 grams of fiber per ounce while dark chocolate only has two grams per ounce and milk chocolate only has one gram per ounce. Fiber is good for your body because it “slows digestion to promote fullness,” which helps manage weight.
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One Green Planet says that because cacao isn’t processed, it still contains more of the nutrients from the whole bean. The website states, “Cacao powder is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, cholesterol-free saturated fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, natural carbohydrates, and protein.”
According to Natural News, cacao also contains the “bliss chemicals” phenylethylamine (PEA) and anandamide. The body naturally produces these two chemicals when excited. In addition, PEA can help increase focus and alertness because it accelerates your pulse. Anandamide, on the other hand, helps decrease depression without being addictive like caffeine.
According to Natural News, Cacao is derived from Theobroma Cacao beans, which literally translates into “Food of the Gods.” Cacao contains over 300 compounds of nutrients that help nourish and replenish your body, and they can be used in a variety of ways. You can make chocolate mousse or raw chocolate fudge. You can even add it to cake or to your milk. In order to reap the benefits of this “food of the gods,” add cacao to any of the recipes that could use a little more chocolate.
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