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Cacao is the one of those superfoods you will enjoy taking every day.
Cacao powder is not to be confused with high-fat, high-calorie, high-sugar chocolate. Lean and nutrient-dense, the powder is a transformative superfood that supports a healthy diet, mind, and heart.
The Cacao plant is indigenous to Central and South America. Now, it is also cultivated in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Hawaii. The Cacao plant is prized for its seeds which are harvested, dried, and ground to produce powder.
Cacao has become popular as an ingredient in sweets and cosmetic products; in fact, the demand for Cacao across the globe has grown 13 percent in these last five years.
Cacao powder is responsible for the rich flavor of hot chocolate and the sharp bite of dark chocolate. But its merits are not limited to its flavor: Cacao provides a wealth of health benefits.
Rich in polyphenols and flavonols, flavonoids which are found to lower blood pressure, Cacao has levels of antioxidants superior to most fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants found in Cacao also repair skin and eliminate free radicals responsible for visible aging.
Cacao has proven to be an effective holistic treatment for wrinkles and stretch marks. Enhanced circulation is yet another beauty-enhancing property.
Cacao provides high levels of essential minerals such as calcium (more than cow's milk), potassium, copper, iron (the highest plant-based source!), zinc, and magnesium. It delivers the vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E, and pantothenic acid.
Two tablespoons of Cacao contain approximately 25 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 3 to 4 grams of dietary fiber. Cacao is also an excellent source of protein, but the exact content varies widely between brands.
Basically, unprocessed forms of Cacao deliver the most nutritional value. Cacao contains few naturally-occurring sugars. Therefore remember - chocolate products with high levels of sugar are mostly that: sugar. Avoid alkalized and 'Dutch processed' versions which have less macro- and micronutrients.
Consuming Cacao is a feel-good experience. Cacao increases the body's levels of serotonin because of it's content of L-Tryptophan. Low levels of serotonin contribute to fibromyalgia, obesity, PMS, addiction, migraines and insomnia.
Taking Cacao relaxes your mind and relieves stress. It also is linked to improved cognitive function and decreases the risk of degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington's disease, and Parkinson's disease.
Cacao is a mood-enhancer because it contains anandamide and phenylethylamine (PEA), the chemicals associated with love, euphoria and feelings of bliss. This chemical stimulates the release of dopamine, the hormone that causes feelings of enthusiasm.
Dark chocolate has been lauded as a heart-healthy treat, but the real source of the nutritional value is the Cacao. Research has linked increased dark chocolate consumption to lower average blood pressure, and the risk of death from heart disease and other conditions.
Additionally, study results have found that eating chocolate leads to higher performance of the inner lining (endothelium) of blood vessels.
There is no maximum recommended dosage for Cacao, but the recommended daily serving size is two tablespoons. For treating high blood pressure, 213-500 mg of the active ingredients, polyphenols, are recommended. This is equivalent to about 7 to 17 grams of powder.
Please review the recommended daily intake shown on the packaging of capsules and other non-powder Cacao supplements. Since Cacao has a high fat content, overweight people should include its calories into their daily diet regimen.
Beurre de Cacao, Cacao, Chocolat, Chocolat Noir, Chocolate, Cacao Bean, Cacao Butter, Cacao Oleum, Cacao Seed, Cacao Semen, Cacao Testae, Dark Chocolate, Dutch Chocolate, Fève de Cacao, Graine de Cacao, Theobroma, Theobroma cacao, Theobroma sativum, Theobromine, Théobromine