Theobroma cacao is derived from trees that can be found in South and Central America, but people all over the world enjoy cacao benefits.
It has been used for thousands of years. Going back to pre-Columbian times, specifically when looking at the Mayan and Olmec cultures, it was regarded as the literal food of the gods.
It was prepared in many ways, similiar to how we prepare ours, which is ground into a paste, and would often the sweetened before consumed. Today, it is used in many different ways and is highly regarded as a modern-day superfood. Here are the many benefits of this all-natural substance that is used in dark chocolate today.
Why Is It Beneficial For You?
Cacao contains many components which are beneficial for the human body. For example, it has an abundance of magnesium, calcium, and a large amount of iron. It also contains what are called flavonoids. These are known to have a very beneficial effect on your overall cardiovascular health.
Theobromine is another component that is better to the taste, and an alkaloid that can boost your energy and is very similar to caffeine.
It is available in local stores in many different forms. You can obtain this through chocolate bars, powder, fruit juice, and even extract tinctures.
How To Cook With It
There is a multitude of recipes that use this substance for improving the flavor of desserts that you will cook. It can be added to smoothies, lattes, oatmeal, and is also capable of improving stew. It will produce a very savory flavor, adding depth to any meal that you prepare.
While you are enjoying food prepared with this material, you will also the providing nutrients that your body needs. An example of this would be a cacao and coconut latte, energy bites, and date bars. These are very easy to make, plus there are thousands of recipes that utilize it for both desserts and remain the course.
Is It Bad For You?
First, it's a lot better than drinking coffee in many ways. If you are going to use it regularly, it should be prepared with other components. Consuming this with meals is going to lead to many health benefits.
However, eating it raw is a good option. Although it can reduce inflammation, lower your blood pressure, and also control blood sugar levels, there are drawbacks as well.
However, if you exceed consuming 2.5 g of it daily, it could potentially lead to kidney failure. Therefore, in moderation, it can be very beneficial for those that consumed this alternative to cocoa or chocolate. As with anything that is consumed in excess, it can lead to complications that could cause unwanted health problems.
The Top Reasons That People Use It
Although many benefits have already been presented, there are other reasons that this can be good for your health. It has been shown to help reduce the probability of developing IBS.
You may also avoid digestive problems by consuming it regularly. If you have a history of heart disease in your family, it can minimize the potential of developing within you.
By increasing blood flow to the brain, you can also reduce the possibility of getting blood clots that could be dangerous. Those that suffer from diabetes, or have a propensity to do so, should take this regularly.
Finally, it has a great deal of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and protein, all of which can help you stay healthy.
How To Extract It From The Fruit
Although many people assume that it originates from beans, it comes from the seeds. When the fruit is opened, the seeds inside will be revealed and can be extracted within a few minutes.
It is relatively large, requiring both hands when working with this fruit. You should split the fruit laterally. This will allow you to pull it apart, extract the seeds, and then begin to prepare it for your meals and snacks.
Technically, is regarded as a berry. Once prepared, it can be used in different meals that you can produce daily.
Where Can You Find These Trees
These are typically found in the forest understory. They can grow to a height of 40 feet or more. However, most of them will only reach 20 feet in height and will produce very leathery leaves which can be almost a foot long.
There will also be flowers on these trees, most of which will be odorless, yet they can also produce a very foul smell. After four years, these trees will yield fruit that can be harvested to extract the cocoa that is inside.
Keep in mind that it takes up to six months for the fruit to ripen. They should be a deep purple or a bright yellow color. The seeds inside are going to be oval, which is where you will extract it.
If you want to improve your health, one of the easiest ways is to use this all-natural product. Whether you prepare this in meals, snacks, or smoothies, the health benefits will be there.
It does not contain the same levels of sugar and dairy that cocoa will, yet it can still be enjoyed. If you want to experience better health and higher levels of energy, consider cacao as an alternative.
Cacao also has an amazing amount of zinc
Is Zinc AntiViral? Yes!
Zinc helps boost the immune system and helps the body fight viruses.
Zinc is an important mineral that our body needs to function properly;
Zinc helps to keep the immune system strong
Zinc helps cells to grow, and helps the body to repair itself, in healing cuts and wounds.
In vitro studies have assessed the antiviral efficacy of zinc and have shown inhibition of viral polyprotein cleavage, viral structure, and/or viral binding in the following viruses --Zinc Antiviral Reference academic.oup.com/advances/article/10/4/696/5476413
- Encephalomyocarditis virus
- Foot and mouth disease virus
- Hepatitis C virus
- Herpes Simplex Virus
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Human papillomavirus
- Respiratory syncytial virus
- Rhinovirus and more
And in actual clinical studies where humans were given zinc as an antiviral therapy, the following viruses had a reduced load, reduced severity, reduced symptoms or reduce duration of infection:
- Torque teno virus
- Herpes simplex
- Experimental rhinovirus
- Common cold
- Viral warts
- Chronic hepatitis C virus
The findings indicate that zinc indeed plays an essential role in human health and stimulates a variety of immune system events, including the antiviral response.
An abundance of evidence has accumulated over the past 50 y to demonstrate the antiviral activity of zinc against a variety of viruses, and via numerous mechanisms. —nih.gov: The Role of Zinc in Antiviral Immunity -www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31305906
Zinc-deficient populations are often at a greater risk. A poor diet is an indicator that there is a lack of sufficient zinc, which puts them at the most risk of acquiring viral infections such as HIV or hepatitis C virus.
Zinc is needed for forming DNA and proteins, immune function, healing wounds, cell division and a proper sense of taste and smell. The body does not store any of the zinc you consume, so we must eat a small amount every day.
Does Cacao Contain High Amounts of Zinc?
Yes indeed, especially raw caao Hooray for us Dark Chocolate Lovers
Not only is Cacao rich with Zinc, but it is also rich in Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Flavanol as well.
One ounce of cacao powder provides about 1 milligram, or 6% of the 15 milligram recommended daily value of zinc.
**100g of cacao powder contains 6.81 mg of zinc, 1,524 mg of Potassium, 499 mg of Magnesium, and 734 mg of Phosphorus.
Also 2,057 mg of Theobromine and 230 mg of Caffeine.
0 mg of Cholesterol
Also note that Cacao is high in Chromium, Magnesium and Zinc - three minerals that 80% of Americans are deficient in!
Cacao is more than just antiviral, but anti-disease as well
It is rich in flavonols, plant chemicals that have been shown to help protect the heart.
Flavonols have been shown to support the production of nitric oxide (NO) in the endolethium (the inner cell lining of blood vessels) that helps to relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow, thereby lowering blood pressure.
Flavonols in chocolate can increase insulin sensitivity in short term studies; in the long run this could reduce risk of diabetes. -harvard.edi www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/
What other foods are high in Zinc?
Table 1 indicates recommended dietary allowances for zinc NIH.gov
An adequate amount of zinc in one’s diet is crucial to maintain good health and immunity; and for lots of different functions, such as fighting infection, cell growth and speeding up chemical transformation processes in the body.
The recommended daily zinc intakes are 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men.
However, for vegetarians, getting enough zinc can be a little more difficult, but it is certainly possible to get all the zinc you need from eating a varied vegetarian or vegan diet; omnivores and herbivores can stay fortified alike.
Shellfish and Beef provide the most zinc out of any food, however vegetarian sources of zinc include Cheese, Milk, and Yogurt; and Vegan sources of zinc include legumes, nuts and seeds such as: beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, walnuts.
Chia Seeds are one of our favorite vegan sources of Zinc, and so are Hemp Seeds which are ground into all of our cacao products, in our proprietary Shaman's blend
Table 2 shows foods with highest zinc content:
Conclusion, Zinc is Good and Cacao is a Good way to get it
It’s always important to eat a balanced diet so that our intake of vitamins and minerals includes everything we need for our bodies to grow and to fight disease and infection.
Zinc is one of the most important minerals when it specifically comes to fighting off viruses and infection.
There are many reasons to include Cacao in one’s varied diet:
- Tastes amazing
- Has antioxidant and healing properties
- Has the ability to bring greater awareness through decalcification of the pineal gland
- And of course, cacao is a significant source of Zinc
So go ahead and treat yourself and take care of your health at the same time with delicious and nutritious cacao products from Medicinal Foods:
Cacao has a Positive Effect On Your Heart
Hello, friends! You know that Medicinal Foods is all about the positive effects of cacao has on our mood and appetite, but did you know that cacao is also very good for your heart health and digestion? It is a superfood that has been enjoyed for years and research supports that the benefits go deeper than just marketing hype. Nibs have been linked to lower blood pressure, healthier cardiovascular system function, a reduced risk of stroke, and improved digestion.
How exactly does it help your heart?
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology and The Journal of Internal Medicine both have had extensive studies completed to test the effects on the frequency of stroke and heart attacks in people.
It was found that those who consumed cacao consistently throughout the day had a significant decrease in stroke occurrence and heart attacks combined. Cacao contains polyphenols--a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to lower bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and increase levels of beneficial cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).
The flavanols contained in cacao beans have also been linked to many other health benefits contributing to heart health-- improved blood flow, arterial elasticity, and lower blood pressure. It is also anti-inflammatory, further increasing the benefits that this powerful superfood has on the heart as well as lowering the risk for heart disease.
Cacao is also beneficial for digestion:
Cacao beans are the seeds (beans) of the cacao fruit. All seeds have a high nutritional content. Not only is it rich in magnesium, but cacao beans are one of the best natural sources of dietary fiber. Fiber and magnesium both assist in prevention of constipation and are contributors to good digestive health overall. Additionally, cacao nibs and powder are both outstanding sources of iron and potassium.
How much is enough?
There aren’t specific nutritional guidelines when it comes to raw chocolate intake, however, cacao is always best since it retains more nutrients than processed varieties. Do not forget that the beans are high in both fat and calories, so it is best to use with moderation and only have a few ounces a day. You can add ours to smoothies, energy bars, vegan superfoods, and nutritional superfood—just a few of the great ways add it to your daily diet!
Just how effective is it compared to other superfoods?
Hello, friends! At Medicinal Foods, we get a lot of questions about superfoods and their efficacy in our customers’ quest for natural health. Things like ‘Why should I be eating superfoods?’ ‘Aren’t they just hyped up versions of regular foods?’ Not quite.
Superfoods are just foods that contain significantly higher quantities of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other healthful natural benefits ranging from natural anti-aging properties to disease fighting benefits. Some superfoods are found every day in your kitchen. (think broccoli! Spinach!) Others are found in exotic lands—deep in the forest of Peru, for example.
The Antioxidant Superfoods King Of The Land. Cacao is quite different from the cocoa we all have grown up with. Cacao refers to the tree (Theobroma Cacao) from which cocoa is processed from, but is used when we are referencing the unprocessed version of this wonderful bean.
Cocoa powder has been roasted and processed, destroying a significant portion of the healthful benefits of cacao—namely, the amount of antioxidants and flavanols (these are the things that keep us young and healthy). Studies suggest that between 60-90% of the natural antioxidants found in itare lost through ‘Dutch Processing’.
This process was originally developed to reduce bitterness, and create a darker, mellower flavor to chocolate. This unfortunately removed most of the healthy benefits from the cacao plant. It is in the group of superfoods that you really shouldn’t live without, it can be mixed into drinks, or the butter can be extracted for amazing recipes too.
40 times the antioxidants of blueberries
Let me repeat that. Cacao in its raw form has 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries. Ok, so let me put this in perspective. ORAC scores measure the ability of antioxidants to absorb free radicals (things that come from pollution and toxins in our environment). These free radicals cause cell and tissue damage…and can lead to diseases like cancer. It has an ORAC score of 98, 000 per 100g. Now put that against blueberries…which comes in at a mere 2, 400.
Highest Plant-Based Source of Iron
If you are vegan or on a plant-based diet, it is something you really need to consider. It is the highest source of iron for those following a plant-based lifestyle. It comes in on the scale at an amazing 7.3 mg of iron per 100g. This compares to spinach at 3.6 mg and animal-based sources like beef and lamb at 2.5mg.
It is important to note that the iron found in cacao is non-heme (as is all plant-based iron), so you will need to mix it with some form of Vitamin C. Things like oranges, kiwifruit, other superfoods like gubinge or camu camu (containing more than 40 times the amount of Vitamin C found in oranges.)
It is also one of the best plant-based sources for magnesium—the most deficient mineral in Western culture. Magnesium is a must for heart health and also helps convert glucose into usable energy for optimal brain function and focus.
More calcium than cow’s milk.
Cow’s milk has long been touted as the calcium queen of the food pyramid. If you follow a plant-based diet or just want alternatives, it blows cow’s milk out of the proverbial calcium pool. Weighing in at 160 mg per 100g, it tops this battle. Cow’s milk only contains 125 mg per 100ml.
Acts as a natural mood elevator and anti-depressant.
It is a fantastic source of several mood-lifting ‘bliss’ chemicals: serotonin, dopamine, anandamide, and phenylethylamine. These neurotransmitters encourage those cozy feelings we have—well-being, happiness, and can even alleviate depression.
There are a plethoral of cacao benefits! It is a natural, healthy, delicious way to be happy! Try ours today!