Raw cacao is one of nature's most amazing mood-boosting foods, with a host additional benefits that you would expect from a true "superfood".
Everything from stress relief, to easing anxiety and menstrual pain, can be attributed to consuming raw cacao regularly in your diet.
Not only that, raw cacao supports cardiovascular health and is rich in minerals and antioxidants that support the heart and brain.
You probably already know that cacao is the main source ingredient of chocolate, but unfortunately most chocolate products on your supermarket shelf are laced with processed sugar and chemical additives.
This is a problem, because it undoes most of the health and mood-boosting benefits associated with consuming "real" chocolate the way nature intended.
Similar to coffee, cacao comes from trees in the form of pods that split open to reveal cacao beans. The beans are fermented and then processed into cacao powder or cacao nibs that have incredible wellness benefits.
In a day and age where millions of people are suffering from some form of depression or anxiety, it's important to highlight why raw cacao is a readily available, natural food that can regulate and boost mood without nasty side-effects.
Here we reveal 7 good reasons why you should consider making raw cacao a part of your diet for everyday physical and emotional wellbeing.
1. Mood Boosting Powers
One of the main reasons cacao is such a powerful mood-boosting food, is because it contains a number of natural compounds known to stimulate feel good emotions, happiness and joy.
One of these compounds is called phenylethylamine (PEA), which is renowned for its ability to boost dopamine levels.
Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that can increase feelings of pleasure and reward. The PEA compound is known to improve mood, increase energy and it is the primary reason why chocolate is such an appealing food that is associated with comfort and warmth.
Together, PEA and dopamine can mimic feelings of contentment and love.
Another is Anandamide, which is the same chemical produced by your body when you get a workout “high”. It helps you to feel blissful and happy, and even euphoric.
Tryptophan is another natural compound in raw cacao that helps the body to release serotonin, which is crucial for emotional harmony and balance, sleep, memory, and so much more.
Then there is the well known antioxidant, Arginine, which offers a wide range of health benefits, from alleviating anxiety, to increasing blood flow, reducing high blood pressure and more.
With all these natural properties in cacao that can benefits your health and make you feel great without the burden of harmful food additives, it’s easy to see why raw cacao and real chocolate has been embraced, even in natural medicine, throughout history.
2. Anti-Oxidant Rich
Another reason cacao is a mood boost food is because it is rich in free-radical fighting anti-oxidants.
Free radicals are toxic particles produced by the body under stress and also due to lifestyle, diet and environmental factors over time, which can cause the immune system to weaken and the body to break down.
Cacao helps to clean up these free radicals as well has deliver over 300 nutrients, vitamins, minerals, compounds and amino acids into your blood stream to support robust health and vitality.
Also, with high levels of magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, omega-6 fatty acids, beta-carotene and more, it’s clear that cacao is a potent addition to any healthy diet.
By eating superfoods like cacao, you’re helping fuel your body, providing it with what it needs to perform at its peak and run most efficiently.
3. Boosts Heart Health
Cacao has a number of positive health benefits, but its benefit to the heart and cardiovascular system are too hard to ignore.
Heart disease is one of the most prevalent out there, so finding ways to naturally improve heart function is more important than ever.
Cacao is naturally anti-inflammatory, it increases blood flow and the antioxidants and polyphenols help to reduce bad cholesterol levels - all crucial attributes for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.
Including raw cacao regularly in your diet can help protect you from heart disease and stroke so that you can lead a longer and happier life.
Learn more in How to Reduce Cholesterol Naturally & Live Longer.
4. Natural Stimulant
Another feature of raw cacao, is its ability to help your body get up and go.
The ingredient Theobromine actually widens blood vessels, helping more oxygen travel through your body to boost heart rate. This can have an energising effect that can elevate your mood.
At the same time, Theobromine also reduces blood pressure, which gives cacao certain aphrodisiac properties.
5. Potent Source of Magnesium
Magnesium is incredibly important for many of our bodily functions, but the reality is that most of people are deficient in this crucial mineral and need more in their diets.
Cacao is one of the best food sources of magnesium which can help calm the 'fight or flight' response in the brain.
Cacao also improves clarity and focus for brain function and it balances blood sugar to prevent energy spikes and crashes throughout the day.
The magnesium in cacao is easy to absorb by the body, so adding more cacao into your diet is a smart move for getting more of this crucial mineral into your body and balancing your mood.
Learn more in Why You Need Magnesium: Benefits & How to Prevent Deficiency.
6. Digestive Health
Digestive health is a vital key to overall health and longevity.
When the good bacteria in your gut are doing their job, it helps every aspect of your body to thrive from the inside out.
Cacao can improve your digestive health, because it helps promote and support healthy bacteria in the gut and the natural fibres in cacao help with regularity.
By incorporating raw cacao into your diet, you can expect to see an improvement in any digestive issues over time, as well as a boost to your immunity, meaning you'll be less susceptible to sickness and dis-ease.
7. Anti-Ageing Properties
Cacao won’t stop you from ageing, but the antioxidants in it can help slow down the signs of ageing so that you can look and feel more youthful.
We associate youth with energy, happiness, and vigour, so it’s no wonder that cacao is a good mood food!
If you want to look and feel younger, while improving your mood, make cacao a regular dietary staple.
Easy Tips For Consuming Raw Cacao
These days, many raw treats and desserts utilise raw cacao as a staple ingredient, but you don't have to get fancy to enjoy the benefits of this amazing superfood.
Here's some simple tips and ideas that are quick and easy:
- Add a tablespoon of raw cacao powder to your morning smoothie. Throw a handful of frozen banana chunks into a blender with chilled coconut or almond milk, include a pitted medjool date to sweeten, add in your raw cacao, blend it all up and enjoy!
- Add a teaspoon of cacao nibs to your morning porridge or on top of your favourite wholesome raw desert, ice cream or organic vanilla yogurt
- Mix a teaspoon of cacao powder into your home-made morning coffee
The Main Take Away
Raw cacao is an amazing natural super food that can help elevate your emotional wellness and physical health.
When you buy cacao, be sure to source high-quality varieties that you will find in good health food stores or in our store at tolmanselfcare.com
Also, take care not to mistake raw cacao for "cocoa powder" which is highly processed and not recommended.
Begin including raw cacao into your diet on a regular basis and you'll soon notice the awesome health benefits and the positive differences to your mood and the way you feel emotionally.
Tolman Self Care.