Cacao brings health and happiness

Cacao beans are the seeds of the Theobroma Cacao tree, meaning ‘food for the gods’ (theo = god and broma = food). With 1200 constituents cacao is the most complex source of food. Although far from everything is known, research shows many health benefits and neurocognitive effects.

Cacao is high in flavanols (which make cacao taste bitter as well), antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory:

  • Good for the elasticity of your blood vessels.

  • Protect against cardiovascular diseases.

  • Good for dermal blood flow and healthy skin.

  • Photoprotection against UV.

  • Protect cells against oxidation and is antiaging.

  • Cacao has one of the highest ORAC scores, used to measure antioxidant levels in food.

Theobromine is an alkaloid prominently present in cacao:

  • Heart stimulant, dilates blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.

  • Reduces coughing and alleviates asthma symptoms as it relaxes bronchial muscles in the lungs.

  • Possibly prevents cancer development.

  • Hardens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay.

Cacao is rich in minerals. Magnesium plays a vital role in our energy production and is found to reduce diabetes. It supports our heart, relaxes our muscles and stimulates brain function. Magnesium is a primary alkaline mineral for detoxification and no other source of food contains as much as cacao. Other important minerals are iron, potassium, zinc, copper, calcium, selenium and manganese. Cacao also contains sulfur which helps to transport nutrients into and out of cells. It supports the insulin function and glucose metabolism, tissue repair, immune system, build and rebuild collagen and keratin (hair, nails and skin).

Phenylethylamine (PEA) naturally exists in your body and has amphetamine like effects:

  • Regulates your mood and triggers happiness hormones like endorphin, dopamine and noradrenalin. Similar to when we fall in love or have sex.

  • Increases focus and energy. It gets us in a focused flow where we lose track of time. Great for working or boost your creativity.

  • Increases libido.

  • Diminishes anxiety.

  • As an extract used against depression symptoms, but what better way to consume it directly from a natural product.

Anandamide, also called the ‘bliss molecule’ (ananda means bliss in Sanskriet):

  • Creates feeling of euphoria also known as runner’s high.

  • Regulates mood, memory, appetite and pain perception.

  • May inhibit breast cancer development.

Tryptophan is critical for producing serotonin (diminishes anxiety and stress) and melatonin (related to sleep). Cacao is a direct source, while at the same time modulating agents in cacao prevent the breakdown of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine making the effect longer and stronger.

Cacao contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, B12, E and healthy fats. Because of its dense nutrition it's often included in polar missions.

Another interesting property of cacao is that it functions as a delivery system for medicinal plants and mushrooms. Which means that it enables your body to use the nutrients and active substances better. For example the combination with the powerful reishi mushroom is a popular one. We are still looking for more scientific research that confirms this, but it is well accepted among herbal medicine practitioners.

So far there is no proof that cacao is addictive in any way... ;)

But, cacao is dehydrating so make sure to drink enough water to avoid a headache.

Cacao during pregnancy or breastfeeding is no problem, but it is advised to use a smaller dose and check the reaction of your child. Actually a positive effect is found for mother and child. Happier babies and happier moms.

Be careful with taking a large dose of cacao if you’re using SSRIs, it can lead to a painful migraine headache. Synthetic MAOIs have proven dangerous with tyramine which forms during fermentation. Cacao actually functions as a natural antidepressant and for some people it is a great replacement for synthetic pharmaceutics.

 

We focused on the most known and researched health claims setting up this list. Research is very advanced but also incomplete. More and more attention is given to research how cacao can improve our health and potential. We will keep updating this information.

These healthy effects of cacao are especially present in pure cacao. Different processing techniques like alkali (Dutch) processing, pressing cacao to separate the butter and powder or roasting at excessive temperatures destroy many favorable compounds that makes cacao so healthy. This is why we prefer pure cacao which is healthier and has a stronger effect.