Eat, tune in, listen to your body.
Is Raw Cacao Really Good For You?
At Cacao Now, we wholeheartedly believe that raw cacao is a miraculous food that can bring health, joy and vibrancy into our lives.
We believe in the intelligence, spirit and aliveness of raw cacao. This belief is intuitive — it is not based on something found in a book or learned in a classroom. It is built on personal experience, a knowing of the heart, and a deep connection to this plant.
We would never create and provide anything that we did not fully believe to be good for the people and the world.
Whenever people inquire about controversial information they’ve found about cacao, we always have the same response – ultimately, we must all learn what works for us individually.
We are all different, and what acts as a superfood for one person may not work well for someone else.
At the end of the day, we must learn to listen to the cues of our own bodies, connect with our intuition, and make decisions based therein.
Our bodies always know. We can spend countless hours reading scientific research, but only our own bodies and hearts know what is a ‘fit’ for us. If we eat a food and our stomach hurts, or we feel sad, this food is not for us.
We encourage everyone to focus on the whole picture, rather than becoming too preoccupied with numbers or math. Food will never be numbers and math.
Over 300 identifiable chemical compounds can be found in cacao — and those are only the identifiable compounds! Underneath its scientific surface, we also have the plant’s mystical and spiritual components to consider.
Beyond simply looking at the science behind cacao, it is important to note that cacao is a food containing ancient wisdom and intelligence. The more consciously it is cultivated, less processed and more raw it is, the more life-force and intelligence is left in the cacao bean — and so in your chocolate.
Cacao has a lot to give. Above all else, cacao works with the heart, assisting in healing and opening this center as a true heart medicine.
It has been used in ceremonies and as a medicine across traditions and throughout the eras.
Above all else, cacao works with the heart, assisting in healing and opening this center as a true heart medicine.
Nutrients Found in Cacao
- THEOBROMINE — Cacao is actually a poor source of caffeine. But it does contain theobromine, which is closely related but has a more mild impact on the central nervous system. It leaves us feeling less jittery than caffeine and contributes to a more sustained, and less “empty”, energy boost. Theobromine stimulates the heart and dilates the cardiovascular system, contains tons of antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties, and even acts as an aphrodisiac.
- ANTIOXIDANTS — Antioxidants are molecules that fight harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals are a result of environmental and other toxicities, and cause damage to cells. This can lead to an array of diseases and health issues. Luckily, cacao provides the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food on the planet. Specifically, cacao provides us with the following antioxidants:
- Polyphenols— Strong antioxidants that donate a hydrogen atom or electron to neutralize free radicals. Cacao contains many polyphenols, and is very rich in flavonoids, which are responsible for cacao’s bitterness.
- Epicatechin — A type of flavonol that enhances muscle growth and strength, increases vascularity and blood flow, contributes to endurance, regulates blood sugar levels, and lowers cholesterol.
- ANANDAMIDE — Known as the bliss molecule, as it is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning bliss or divine happiness, anandamide is an important endocannabinoid produced in our bodies. By stimulating our endocannabinoid receptors, natural anandamide in cacao has a longer life, helping us feel good longer after eating chocolate — even contributing to feelings of euphoria.
- PHENYLETHYLAMINE (PEA) — Called the love chemical, PEA is an adrenal chemical created by the brain and released when we are in love. With raw cacao containing high levels of PEA, love and chocolate obviously have a deep connection. PEA’s can also heighten alertness, stimulate the nervous system to release endorphins, improve mental acuity, and elevate mood, metabolism and memory.
- SEROTONIN — Commonly known as the feel-good chemical, serotonin helps us combat stress and improve our mood. Cacao consumption helps our bodies produce more serotonin naturally. This contributes to more feelings of contentment, happiness, comfort, relaxation, and all around well-being.
- MAO INHIBITORS — Cacao can slightly diminish appetite, likely due to the presence of monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAO’s). Different from digestive enzyme inhibitors contained in many seeds and nuts, MAO’s actually produce beneficial results when eaten, by circulating more serotonin and neurotransmitters in our brains. They can also contribute to maintaining youth and promoting rejuvenation.
- MAGNESIUM — Cacao has the highest source of magnesium than any other food identified to date. North Americans are more deficient in magnesium than any other major mineral, and yet every cell in our body requires it to function. Magnesium can increase energy, balances the brain, supports heart health, aids digestion, calms our nerves, eases muscles and menstrual cramping, increases alkalinity, builds strong bones, lowers high blood pressure, prevents heart attack and stroke, diminishes migraines, and more.
- IRON — Iron is the most abundant trace mineral in our bodies, playing a vital role in forming and oxygenating blood cells. It produces both hemoglobin (which transports oxygen from the lungs to body tissues) and myoglobin, and even helps remove carbon dioxide. Iron is essential for a healthy immune system, energy production, enzymatic reactions, and metabolic function. It also converts food to energy, improves cognitive function, and leaves us revitalized and energized.
- SULFUR — Considered the beauty mineral, sulfur helps support strong nails, shining hair, and youthful skin. It also supports pancreatic function and detoxifies the liver. It is also noted that sulfur can detoxify mercury in our bodies.
- MANGANESE — Manganese helps us metabolize amino acids, glucose, cholesteroland carbohydrates. It also supports blood clotting, bone formation, the oxygenation of blood, and the reduction of inflammation. Because the human body cannot produce manganese, we must obtain manganese from our diet, with cacao acting as a perfect source.