Cacao: Our Antioxidant-Rich New Superfood
Theobroma Cacao - Translated from Greek as "food of the gods" - is the scientific name of the cacao tree. Native to the tropical regions of Central and South America, it produces pods which are used to make both raw cacao powder and cocoa powder. Raw cacao is the purest form of cocoa. It is not processed the way that cocoa is; Rather, raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. This does not kill or remove the enzymes in the cocoa, but does remove the fatty cacao butter.
Raw cacao contains over 300 identifiable chemical compounds and is a good source of monosaturated fats, cholesterol-free saturated fats, minerals, fiber, natural carbohydrates, and protein. It contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, and E, and is actually one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium. Magnesium is great for keeping the heart healthy because it improves heart function, lowers blood pressure, helps improve blood flow, turns glucose into energy, reduces plaque in the arteries, and can even promote muscle relaxation. Additionally, Cacao contains an abundance of other minerals such as calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, chromium, potassium, manganese, amino acids, Omega 6 fatty acids, as well as a heart-healthy fat known as oleic acid.
Cacao is extremely high in antioxidants, ranking extremely high in terms of ORAC value. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. An ORAC is the unit which measures the antioxidant values within a specific food. Antioxidants are vital to a healthy body because they protect our cells from free radicals, which come from harmful oxidants. Oxidants come in many forms that our bodies are constantly in contact with. Some common oxidants are cigarette smoke, air pollution, toxic industrial chemicals, and pesticides. Because antioxidants work to combat these oxidants, they are responsible for preventing us from developing a wide range of diseases and health issues, as well as increasing our immunity. Cacao is especially high in the antioxidants resveratrol and anthocyanidin, which protect the nervous system and help the body improve deficiencies and physiological problems, respectively.
Cacao has been said to help improve not only physical health, but mental health. Studies have shown that cacao can actually raise serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain - providing feelings of happiness, contentment, and overall well-being. It also has the ability to increase our endorphins, which reduce stress and pain.
We are excited to add Raw Cacao Powder to our collection of superfoods, and we hope you love this delicious and nutritious plant just as much as we do!