Chocoholic? Discover the Many Benefits of Cacao

It’s a well-known fact that millions of people enjoy eating chocolate-based foods and treats. Before you think that this is an unhealthy habit, read on to learn about cacao, a superfood with numerous benefits.

Cacao is a Well-Known Mood Enhancer and Aphrodisiac

Did you know that cacao contains a mood enhancer called anandamide? Known as the “bliss molecule,” anandamide can create a feeling of euphoria when consumed that can override a bad mood or negative feelings. In addition, cacao contains another mood-enhancing substance called phenethylamine, also known as PEA. PEA is considered effective as an endorphin-releasing substance that contain opium-like pleasure releasers that many people experience when they fall in love or engage in sexual activity. Perhaps this is why cacao-based products are so popular on Valentine’s Day.

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Cacao-based products popular on Valentine's Day

Cacao Helps to Balance Hormonal Mood Swings and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

While it’s never wise to make medical claims about a food, there is evidence that cacao may help with boosting the level of seratonin, a powerful brain chemical that enhances the level of calming hormones in the brain. This is thought to promote and restore feelings of well-being. Also, women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can benefit from cacao’s seratonin-releasing activity. Another powerful aspect of cacao is that it contains flavanols,  anti-inflammatory and heart-protective substances that are thought to protect against heart disease, improve blood circulation and lower the risk of stroke. In fact, cacao contains more that 700 compounds including polyphenols that may be able to help lower “bad” cholesterol and assist in preventing hardening of the arteries. Cacao also may work to thin the blood and  prevent blood clots. Research indicates that cacao might be just as effective as taking aspirin to forestall heart disease.

Cacao May Prevent Premature Ageing and Can Assist with Weight Loss

It’s well-known that green tea and red wine have strong antioxidant properties. Cacao contains polyphenols, which also are antioxidants. In addition, anthocyanins like those found in dark coloured fruits, along with catechins like those found in green tea work to protect cells from damage or premature oxidation. Also, drinking a cup of hot cacao before meals can help to suppress appetite by way of the MAO inhibitors it contains. MAO inhibitors often are found in weight-loss products, and the ones found in cacao allow more seratonin to circulate in the brain. If cacao tastes too strong to you, simply modify it by adding some nut milk, rice or coconut milk to improve the taste. If you heat your cacao beverage gently, it will release a higher level of these important substances. Just add one teaspoon of cacao to a cup of hot milk or hot water and drink it 10 to 15 minute before meals.

Cacao May Help With Energy Levels, Diabetes and Blood Pressure

If you find yourself feeling lethargic and out of energy, magnesium is a solution worth  considering. Did you know that cacao has one of the highest levels of magnesium found in a natural food source? Also, it’s thought to protect the body against osteoporosis. Magnesium is particularly important for type II diabetics. In addition, it’s traditionally considered effective for  those with high blood pressure. A recent study indicates that cacao intake may be effective in reducing blood pressure when a small amount is taken every night.

Cacao’s Remarkable Skin Benefits

Cacao may be considered effective in preventing skin cancer, a British study showed. Just 20 grams a cacao per day may allow you to stay in the sun twice as long a those who do not take this supplement. Cacao improves skin texture and gives the skin a glowing aspect. Further, users often experience improved microcirculation and increased oxygen saturation, both of which may help in improving the skin’s hydration level. Finally, cacao is thought to assist in preventing skin cancer because of its ability to protect against harmful UV rays.

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More Important Benefits of Cacao

If you’re concerned about your appearance, know that cacao can benefit the hair and nails, making them strong and smooth. The antioxidant benefits of cacao may be effective in people who needed to reduce their insulin resistance. For those with impaired glucose tolerance, cacao may help to restore a proper balance. It’s also considered effective for smokers and for those who wish to improve their bowel and kidney functions. If you have concerns about your metabolism, cacao is worth considering because it helps to reset the metabolism and restore one’s internal balance. In addition, the importance of antioxidants for the human body cannot be understated. Another recent study reported that cacao reduced the stress hormone cortisol, improved microbial activity in the gut and enhanced the metabolism.

With so many positive aspects and benefits, shouldn’t you consider taking cacao as a supplement?