Cacao is full of health benefits and is a healthy option when it comes to indulgence, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
Raw, powdered cacao is full of flavonoids, which act as natural antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect the body from ageing and disease caused by free radicals. Raw cacao contains up to four times the antioxidants of traditional cacao powder, and has the highest antioxidant value of all the natural foods in the world.
Scientists from Cornell University in the US recently discovered that raw cacao contains nearly twice the antioxidant content of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidant content of green tea.
The flavonoids in cacao can prevent fat-like substances in the bloodstream from oxidising and clogging the arteries, and cacao has also been found to help regulate blood pressure and reduce cholesterol while building the immune system.
The cacao bean is also rich in magnesium, an energy mineral and vital electrolyte, which is associated with calming the body’s nervous system.
The super-food is also a great source of sulfur which is associated with strong nails, shiny hair and a healthy liver and pancreas, and drinking a cup of hot cacao before meals can diminish your appetite by helping the body tune in to its natural appetite. According to Dr Gabriel Cousens, this is due to cacao’s mono-amine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAO inhibitors), which are associated with weight loss and maintenance.
However, can have too much of a good thing. Cacao is very powerful on the central nervous system and over-indulging can interfere with calcium retention. Don’t consume more than 40 grams (or four to six heaped teaspoons) of raw cacao a day, and like anything, enjoy in moderation. A healthy diet is a varied one.
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