What are the health benefits of raw cacao?
- Lowers insulin resistance.
- Protects your nervous system: Cacao is high in resveratrol, a potent antioxidant also found in red wine, known for its ability to cross your blood-brain barrier to help protect your nervous system.
- Shields nerve cells from damage.
- Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Reduces your risk of stroke.
- Reduces blood pressure.
- Slows the ageing process by assisting with nitric oxide metabolism: Nitric oxide protects your heart by relaxing your blood vessels and thereby lowering your blood pressure. However, nitric oxide production produces adverse reactions and toxic metabolites, which must be neutralised by your body so they don’t result in oxidative damage to your blood vessel lining. Cocoa polyphenols protect your body from these metabolites and help counter the typical age-related decline in nitric oxide production.
- Guards against toxins: as a potent antioxidant, cacao can repair the damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the risk of certain cancers. In fact cacao contains far more antioxidants per 100g than acai, goji berries and blueberries. Antioxidants are responsible for 10% of the weight of raw cacao.
- Boosts your mood: cocoa can increase levels of certain neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well-being. And the same brain chemical that is released when we experience deep feelings of love – phenylethylamine – is found in chocolate.
- It is rich in minerals: magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese.
If cacao is more beneficial than cocoa because it’s raw, what happens when we cook it?
Very good question, and we’re glad you asked… unfortunately there is no science on whether or not heating raw cacao destroys its antioxidant level making it more akin to its heated and processed cousin cocoa. BUT we figure if you start off with the product in its raw form, it has to be more beneficial than starting with an already heated and processed equivalent.