Cacao

Cacao

 

  • All chocolate is made from cacao beans (also known as cocoa beans). Cacao is pure chocolate.
  • Chocolate consists of just one ingredient—no sugar, no dairy, no chemicals required—that one ingredient is cacao.
  • In 1753 Carl Linnaeus, the eighteenth-​century Swedish scientist, thought cacao was so important that he named the genus and species of this tree himself: Theobroma cacao, or “Cacao, the food of the gods.”
  • Cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them instead of gold as money! When political turmoil caused Cortez to return to Spain in 1528, he brought with him precious minerals, agricultural goods and, most likely, cacao beans. Cortez was probably the first to bring chocolate to Europe. The world would never be the same. About the cacao drink, he wrote it was: “The divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.”
  • Gold was used in the Aztec empire for aesthetic purposes, not for money. The coin of the realm in ancient Mexico was cacao beans.
  • More than anything else, cacao supports the heart in a literal, metaphysical, and spiritual sense. The Aztecs often called cacao yollotl eztli, which means “heart blood.”
  • You can turn cravings for cooked, processed chocolate into super-​nutrition with raw chocolate (raw cacao beans, nibs, butter, powder, and bars).
  • Like all superfoods, chocolate straddles the line between a food and a potent and beneficial medicine.
  • many of the special properties of cacao are destroyed by cooking, refining, and processing,\.
  • Cacao makes a delightful and delicious addition to superman elixirs and turns them into something fun that you would look forward to.
  • “Certain food components like cocoa flavonols may be beneficial in increasing brain blood flow and enhancing brain function among older adults or for others in situations where they may be cognitively impaired, such as fatigue or sleep deprivation. “ —Ian A. Macdonald, University of Nottingham Medical School, commenting on promising research on cocoa (cacao) and the improvement of mental acuity research.
  • Cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world. These antioxidants include polyphenols, catechins, and epicatechins. By weight, cacao has more antioxidants than red wine, blueberries, açai, pomegranates, and goji berries combined.
  • Cacao is also extraordinarily rich in many essential minerals, making it a truly nourishing food. One can easily alleviate their hunger and satisfy their appetite by eating a few cacao beans.
  • the real whole cacao bean is so much richer and deeper in flavour than conventional chocolate or even dark chocolate
  • elixirs made with cacao and oils like coconut oil and cacao butter are the best way to truly appreciate the depth and greatness of cacao
  • High antioxidant superfoods like cacao, as a general rule, potentiate herbs such as medicinal mushrooms and others.
  • Cacao seems to be the number one source of magnesium, one of the great alkaline minerals. Magnesium supports the heart, increases brainpower, causes strong peristalsis (bowel movements), relaxes menstrual cramping, relaxes muscles, increases flexibility, helps build strong bones, and increases alkalinity.    When the body has enough magnesium, veins and arteries breathe a sigh of relief and relax, which lessens resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body. Studies show that a deficiency of magnesium is not only associated with heart trouble but that immediately following a heart attack, lack of sufficient magnesium promotes free-​radical injury to the heart.       Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD); over 80 percent of North Americans are chronically deficient in magnesium. Cacao has enough magnesium to help reverse deficiencies of this mineral.
  • Cacao is also the highest food in magnesium, chromium and copper, all of which are essential minerals.
  • Cacao contains essential omega-6 fatty acids. All cooked and processed chocolate contains rancid omega-6 fatty acids (trans fat) that can cause an inflammatory reaction when one eats cooked chocolate. This is the final arbiter on the matter of raw versus cooked chocolate. Chocolatiers cannot escape the fact that once the cacao bean is cooked their product is automatically contaminated with rancid essential fatty acids.
  • Phenylethylamines (PEAs) are a class of compounds found in abundance in cacao.
  • PEAs are a major class of chemicals that we produce in our bodies when we fall in love. This is likely one of the main reasons why love and chocolate have such a deep connection. PEAs also play a role in increasing focus and alertness. A greater than 2.2 percent concentration of PEAs and a significant concentration of magnesium appear to be the main natural appetite suppressants found in cacao.
  • Cacao is actually one of the great weight-​loss foods because within its extraordinary nutrition profile it contains the minerals and PEA molecules that shut off appetite.
  • Anandamide is a cannabinoid endorphin that the human body naturally produces after exercise. Anandamide has only been found in one plant—cacao. Anandamide is known as the “bliss chemical” because it is released while we are feeling great.
  • Cacao contains significant quantities of the essential amino acid tryptophan, a powerful mood-​enhancing nutrient. According to research obtained by cross-​referencing data on the Internet, cacao powder consists of somewhere between 0.2–0.5 percent tryptophan. The presence of tryptophan in the diet is critical for the production of serotonin, our primary neurotransmitter. Once in our bodies, tryptophan reacts with vitamin B6 and vitamin B3 in the presence of magnesium to produce serotonin. Enhanced serotonin function typically diminishes anxiety and literally improves our neurological and physiological ability to handle and ward off feelings off stress.
  • Tryptophan is heat-​volatile and susceptible to damage or destruction by cooking. As a result, tryptophan is usually deficient in many cooked-​food diets, even if animal protein intake is high. (This may be a large reason why depression is on the rise.) Eating cacao beans raw would thus be an excellent way to obtain dietary tryptophan.
  • If serotonin levels are high, the world could be collapsing and we would still feel good. If serotonin levels are low, all could be well, but we would still feel like hell.
  • The high concentration of antioxidants and minerals in cacao makes it a powerful food to have during times of stress.
  • For some people, cacao can be mildly stimulating and therefore shouldn’t be eaten in excess or before sleep. This however does not apply to all people.
  • Today we know that cacao is one of the richest sources of a peculiar and interesting substance known as theobromine, a close chemical relative and metabolite of caffeine. Theobromine, like caffeine, belong to the chemical group known as xanthine alkaloids. Theobromine is a chemical relative of caffeine but is not a nervous system stimulant. Theobromine dilates the cardiovascular system, making the heart’s job easier. This is one of the major reasons why cacao is an important part of a heart-​healthy diet.
  • A recent study showed that only one out of five hundred people who thought they were allergic to chocolate actually tested positive. Allergies to chocolate are quite rare. It is typically the case that the person is in fact allergic to milk and dairy products. Some people can be allergic to cooked and processed chocolate but are not allergic to cacao.
  • Take cacao with an anti-stimulant like mucuna to get the benefits of both and they both cancel out the negatives each other.

Most cacao powder products are contaminated with high levels of the heavy metal cadmium and are therefore recommended to be avoided. Use the actual whole cacao beans and cacao nibs instead or ground them and make your own cacao powder at home.

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