Health benefits of organic raw cacao beans
For thousands of years, organic raw cacao beans have been used as for their healing and nutritional properties. Cacao beans are great superfood high in antioxidants, flavonoids nutrients and minerals such as sulfur, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and potassium. Statistics show that 80% of Americans have magnesium deficiency and raw cacao beans are an amazing source of magnesium.
Although many people might believe that cacao beans are high in fat, studies have shown that the omega 3 monounsaturated fatty acids in cacao beans are considered healthy fat that can fight animal fat and high cholesterol levels.
Cacao beans can increase the level of neurotransmitters and serotonin in brain and help to reduce fatigue, stress and anxiety. Cacao beans can also simulate endorphins levels that can stimulate the feelings of happiness and relaxation.
Phenylethylamine is another natural substance that exists in dark chocolate. Our brain releases phenylethylamine when we feel loved. Phenylethylamine reduces moodiness, depression and help with better concentration. Anandamide is another chemical released in our brain when we feel happy. Cacaco beans contain N-acylethanolamines that can temporary increase the level of anandamide in the brain and make people feel good for a long time.
Keep in mind that most milk and white chocolates do not have any real nutritional value of dark chocolate and most of them barley have any trace of real raw cacao beans. In fact, most of these fake chocolates have toxic additives and harmful preservatives including white sugar, MSG, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners that are harmful to your health. So buy organic raw cacao beans or dark chocolate that has at least more than 60% -70% raw cacao.
Here are the top 5 benefits of raw cacao beans:
1. Promoting cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol:
Several Boston medical institutes performed a study that suggests flavonoids in dark chocolate; (in particular, raw cacao beans) can lower blood pressure levels. The researchers also discovered that participants who consumed raw cacao had significantly lower risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD).
Also, in another study published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers discovered that raw cacao beans can significantly lower the level of LDL (bad cholesterol) without any effects on HDL (good cholesterol).
In fact, a recent study by Penn State University published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that besides lowering the level of LDL, dark chocolate can lower the rate that LDL oxidizes. According to sciencedaily.com, “oxidation of LDLs plays an important role in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Increasing LDL's resistance to oxidation is thought to possibly delay the progression of heart disease. Flavonoids, which are present in a wide variety of plants, have long been known to inhibit LDL oxidation”.
2. Reducing the risk of colon cancer:
A study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research shows that raw cacao beans can reduce the inflammatory effect of digestive system that can lead to colon cancer. According to eurekalert.org, the leading author of the study and researcher at ICTAN, María Ángeles Martín Arribas explains that "Being exposed to different poisons in the diet like toxins, mutagens and procarcinogens, the intestinal mucus is very susceptible to pathologies. So foods like cocoa, which is rich in polyphenols, seems to play an important role in protecting against colon disease."
It is important to keep in mind that milk or white chocolate are not a good source of raw cacao beans and are high in fat and sugar content that can increase the chances of cancer.
3. Lowers the risk of diabetes:
Diabetes is one of the fast-growing health epidemics in US. The statistics show that 25 million Americans have diabetes and 79 millions are pre-diabetic.
Research has shown that in order to have a life free of chronic diseases such as diabetes, people should increase their raw organic food consumption. Foods such as raw cacao beans, cinnamon and green teas are known to be beneficial to diabetes.
A 2011 research study by the Journal of Nutrition shows that epicatechin flavonoids from raw cacao beans and green tea have anti-aging properties and can reduce the negative effects of high blood sugar.
4. Healthy brain function and improving Alzheimer's disease:
According to sciencedaily.com, a recent study performed by Harvard Medical School in Boston shows that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may help older people keep their brains healthy and their thinking skills sharp. The leader of the study Farzaneh A. Sorond, MD, PhD, says that "We're learning more about blood flow in the brain and its effect on thinking skills. As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer's.”
In another study, researchers in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension discovered that eating cocoa flavonoids daily may improve mild cognitive impairment and enhance brain function. Researchers discovered that flavanol in green tea, grapes, red wine, apples and cocoa products can reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's.
5. Improve visual, cognitive function and healthy skin:
A research published in the journal Physiology and Behavior showed that Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in an acute improvement in visual and cognitive functions. The researchers found that high amount of cocoa flavanols can improve cognitive function and visual sensitivity and can reduce mental fatigue.
In addition, raw cacao beans have other amazing benefits such as improving mental and physical function, neutralizing free radicals (since cacao is an amazing source of antioxidants), boosting energy and reducing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS (because of magnesium).
Raw cacao beans are also a great anti-inflammatory and can protect the skin from ultra-violet (UV) sunshine exposure. In fact, a research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology shows that regular consumption of dark chocolate rich in flavanols confers significant photoprotection and can protect human skin from harmful UV effects.