Before going to know all about the Cacao Benefits, you need to know about Cacao.
What is Cacao actually?
Cacao is a plant that is originally domesticated in South America about 5,000 years ago.
You can find cacao in a large yellowish, red, green, or sometimes brown pod that grows on trees in Central and South America.
It is very famous for its delicious flavor and remarkable health benefits.
All around the world, cacao trees can now be found in equatorial regions. Both cocoa powder and cacao powder are made by harvesting the beans from these trees.
The fermentation process that takes place between cacao beans helps the cacao beans to develop flavor and texture. The result of this process will be the formation of cacao powder.
1) How To Prepare Cacao Powder:
The powder made from cacao is almost similar to cocoa powder both in flavor and function. But the difference is it’s more nutritious overall.
Cacao powder is used in many vegan dessert recipes because it has minimal processing and nutrition density. The easy way to get more nutrients when you’re baking is by making the switch.
You can use cacao powder in the same way as cocoa powder. It also looks almost identical to cocoa powder.
You can also substitute cocoa powder for an equal amount of cacao powder in recipes. But the flavor might not be as sweet.
It also absorbs more liquid when compared to cocoa powder. So, you have to take more quantities of liquid ingredients in a recipe.
You can also use cacao powder to make recipes like brownies, cookies, cakes, and other chocolatey desserts.
Let us see some other cacao uses:
- You can sprinkle it on top of peanut butter on toast.
- You can use it as an ingredient in a homemade hot cocoa mix.
- You can add it to a smoothie.
- You can also add it to plain or vanilla Greek yogurt.
- You can add it to a pot of chilli for a deeper flavor.
- You can use it like oatmeal.
2) Nutrition in Cacao:
There is more nutrition present in cacao powder than in cocoa powder. It can also be a healthier substitute in recipes.
It is an excellent source of the following nutrients and minerals:
- Iron: Iron is a mineral that is found in the hemoglobin of red blood cells and in the myoglobin of muscle cells. You can find 13.9mg of Iron in 100 grams of cocoa powder.
- Protein: It can help keep your belly full even after a half meal. You need to take
the right kind of protein to get its health benefits. 20g of protein is found in 100 grams of cocoa powder.
- Magnesium: It is an important mineral for normal bone structure in the body. You can find 499mg of magnesium in 100 grams of cocoa powder.
- Potassium: It is a very essential mineral for the body to function properly. You can find 1524 mg of potassium in 100 grams of cocoa powder.
- Fibre: It is very important to have it in your daily diet to maintain good health. You can find 33g of fiber in 100 grams of cocoa powder. This is one of the cacao benefits.
Health Benefits Of Cacao:
1. Cacao Benefits for Heart:
The heart is the main and very important organ in the human body. You can lower your risk of heart disease by eating healthy food.
Your diet must include foods that are low in saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium to achieve a healthy heart.
High-fiber foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and certain fats are also included in heart-healthy items.
Your heart also needs healthy blood flow and it’s even important for our exercise performance and recovery.
You can find at least 200mg of cacao flavanols in 20g of Aduna Super-Cacao. It has been scientifically proven and verified by EFSA to help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, supporting healthy blood flow.
Cacao also helps in Cardiovascular health, Elasticity of arteries, and Healthy blood circulation.
2. Helps in the Reduction of Tiredness & Fatigue
In the present lifestyle, tiredness and fatigue caused by alcohol or drugs or lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.
A healthy diet and regular physical exercise may help you in reducing fatigue for many people. You can boost your energy even with a 15-minute walk.
It is been proven that the use of flavanol-rich cacao will improve 45% of alertness and an 80% boost in walking speed according to tests.
Research has been done and 40 adult patients have tested the use of flavanol-rich cacao. They drank a cup of hot chocolate every day for six weeks.
Flavanol-rich hot chocolate made with Aduna Super-Cacao Powder or a low-flavanol version was given to the participants.
Researchers observed that the Super-Cacao could be beneficial in helping reduce tiredness and fatigue in the body.
The cacao powder is rich in magnesium which involves in energy metabolism and it helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue.
3. Reduces High Blood Pressure
The force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries is called Blood pressure. The heart pumps blood into the arteries each time it beats.
You cannot find any symptoms of high blood pressure. So, you need to get regular blood pressure checks from your doctor.
You can prevent high blood pressure by eating a healthy diet. You need to choose a healthy meal and snack in your diet. So that you can avoid high blood pressure and its complications.
There are proven methods to lower your blood pressure with the help of cacao.
The research was done on the relationship between cacao and high blood pressure. It was found that those people who consume high cocoa consumption have lower blood pressure.
4. Cacao Benefits To the Brain:
Raw cacao is rich in a phytonutrient known as a flavonol. Due to the presence of summary flavanols in cacao, it can support neuron production, and brain function and improve blood flow and supply to brain tissue.
Cacao is also better than serving red wine or tea because it contains more antioxidants per cup. It may lower LDL cholesterol, reduce the risk of blood clots, and increase blood flow to the arteries.
Cacao also plays an important role in preventing age-related brain degeneration, such as Alzheimer’s disease, but more research is needed.
Researchers have seen significant improvements in mental focus and attention span when you improve blood flow, and therefore oxygen to the brain.
The flavonoids in cacao powder may also help increase insulin sensitivity, reducing your risk of diabetes. It contains more antioxidants per gram than blueberries.
Flavonoids display several beneficial actions on the brain. After intake, they induce widespread stimulation of brain perfusion.
These substances also give rise to angiogenesis and neurogenesis. And they also make changes in neuron morphology, mainly in regions involved in learning and memory.
5. Cacao Benefits for Muscle Growth and Fitness
Maintaining a good physique is a very important factor for a healthy body. A good flow of oxygen to all our organs, muscles, and tissues helps us maintain athletic performance.
It is been scientifically proven that super cacao helps you to improve blood flow. You can try it blended with banana for a pre or post-workout smoothie.
This is possible with the presence of magnesium and potassium content in it. It is also rich in electrolytes which further support muscle recovery. The presence of potassium helps in muscle proper function.
It is perfect for those looking to up their protein intake. And also for vegans and vegetarians who may not be getting enough protein in their diet. This is possible because it contains 23% of natural protein.
Chocolate is one of the good foods which promote muscle growth. The flavonols present in cacao improve the health and performance of the muscles. By the intake of cacao, you are able to perform more exercises for longer periods of time.
6. Stress Relief and Anti-Aging
Stress caused by sleep deprivation increases signs of aging, such as fine lines, reduced elasticity, and uneven pigmentation.
The loss of skin elasticity may also contribute to the formation of bags under your eyes. Chronic stress can increase inflammation, causing skin aging and accelerating the formation of wrinkles.
You can relieve symptoms of depression, reduce anxiety, and positively affect mood by eating chocolate made of cacao powder. A diet rich in flavonoids can help reduce the risk of dementia.
The powder made from cacao beans is a good source of magnesium and potassium. These substances are essential for normal psychological function and the running of the nervous system.
It has been proven that a single serving of cacao powder contains 26% of your magnesium NRV and 15% of your potassium NRV. So, if you add it to your routine will help you to combat stress, relax and maintain a sense of calm.
You can make healthy chocolate by mixing two teaspoons of hot milk with cacao powder and sweetening it to taste.
You can also add a couple of drops of vanilla essence and a shake of cinnamon to ours. Equally delicious cold served over ice.
I hope this article made you realize how Cacao benefits your health. So, try it in your baking recipes and stay healthy.
10 Amazing Facts:
- The only truly pure form of chocolate is cacao, which is distinct from both chocolate and cocoa powder because it is raw and essentially unprocessed.
- When cacao has been heated, it is referred to as Cocoa. Mostly speaking, it alludes to the powdered variety, which has typically been heated to greater temperatures than cacao powder. It’s also used as a synonym for “cacao” in today’s language.
- More than 200,000 kids between the ages of five and fifteen work in hazardous conditions on African chocolate plantations, according to the International Labor Rights Forum. The use of child labour and slave labour in the cacao industry was made public by the documentary “The Dark Side of Chocolate.”
- About all cocoa trees grow within 20 degrees of the equator, and 75% of those grow within eight degrees. Cacao grows at the equator.
- The term Theobroma cacao, which translates from the Greek as “food of the gods” and “theos,” refers to the little evergreen cacao tree.
- The cocoa plant was referred to by the name Kakau(a) in the ancient Mesoamerican languages.
- Each year, each tree produces about 40 pods, each holding about 40 beans. The tree’s trunk produces long, melon-sized pods, which in maturity change colour from yellowish-green to brown.
- The three primary types of cacao are Criollo, which is extremely expensive, fragrant, and delicate; Forastero, which is most prevalent and most bitter; and Trinitario, a cross between the first two with a faintly fruity aroma.
- The earliest cacao trees emerged in the woodlands, shielded by other plants’ leaves. The ideal method of growing is still under the shade under banana trees, poplars, cedars, or other native flora; the top chocolate producers in the world choose it over the larger harvests that are now grown in monocultures on deforested fields.
- Cacao can cause addiction. The alkaloids it contains, which are also responsible for the beans’ base flavour of bitterness, cause a delectable physiological addiction. especially the euphoriant theobromine and the stimulant caffeine to a lesser extent.
Frequently asked questions:
- A cacao tree can live for over 200 years but only produces quality cocoa beans for about 25 years. Each year a tree will produce approximately 40 pods. Inside the cacao pods are seeds called cocoa beans. These seeds are the magical ingredient in chocolate.
- It takes a cocoa tree five years to produce its first cocoa beans (pods). The peak growing period for a cocoa tree is a duration of 10 years. Cocoa beans are called “cocoa” beans and not “cacao” beans because of a spelling mistake made by English importers in the 18th century when chocolate was becoming popular.
- We recommend not having more than 2oz of cacao on any given day. Doing so could lead to nausea or headaches, especially if you don’t drink enough water or eat enough food before and/or after the cacao experience. It can also be effective to have a very small amount of cacao.
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Also, read Fun facts about the Nervous System.