Did you know cacao is a powerful superfood?
There have been numerous studies done on cacao that show it is packed with antioxidants that might help neutralize free radicals and dissolve plaque in the arteries preventing diseases and improving circulation. Good quality chocolate, cacao powder, cacao nibs or cacao mass are some of the products that can provide many healthy vitamins and minerals from the cacao beans.
Although chocolate is usually made with milk, this ingredient is not at all necessary. Good quality chocolate is actually a very simple and nutritious product. Our Absolute Organic Chocolate Chips for example contain only cacao mass, cacao butter, cacao powder, sugar cane – and that’s it!
Never too much to say, the more cacao in your chocolate, the healthier it is.
Curiosities about Cacao:
- ’Cacao’ or ‘cocoa’? Some might say they are the same, but for Australians, generally ‘cacao’ refers to the raw untreated parts of the bean, whilst ‘cocoa’ is the more processed form of cacao such as powders and drinks.
- Cacao beans are grown on small trees inside a cacao pod that is usually 20cm height and contains around 50 beans inside.
- The cacao tree takes about 5 years to produce its first pods.
- The Maya Indians were the first to discover the cacao beans around the year 600 AD.
- Cacao is a natural energy booster with a small amount of caffeine – about 10% of what is present in coffee beans.
- In the cacao bean you will find around 55% of fat (cacao butter), 16% of fibre, 14% of other carbohydrates, 11% of protein, and 4% of polyphenols and minerals.
Organic cacao naturally contains:
✓ Phenethylamine (PEA) – A neurotransmitter that stimulates the nervous system to release endorphins, often associated with the feeling of being in love.
✓ Serotonin – Acts to help protect your body from stress and promote feelings of happiness.
✓ Dopamine – A neurotransmitter which helps to elevate the mood.
✓ Coumarin – A natural blood thinner and appetite suppressant.
✓ Theobromine – Enhances blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
Essential dietary minerals:
✓ Calcium – Enhances bone mineral density
✓ Copper – Contributes to normal tissue structure and iron metabolism
✓ Iron – Contributes to normal energy production and blood formation
✓ Magnesium – Contributes to normal energy and psychological function
✓ Manganese – Contributes to bone formation and energy metabolism
✓ Phosphorus – Necessary for normal teeth and bone structure
✓ Potassium – Contributes to normal functioning of nervous system and muscle function
Essential dietary vitamins:
✓ Vitamin A – Contributes to vision, skin and metabolism
✓ Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9 – Contributes to normal psychological function and immune system
✓ Vitamin E – Contributes to protection from free radical damage
Some ways to include cacao into your dietary routine is by snacking on our Vegan Dark Chocolate Chips, adding a little spoon of Absolute Organic Cacao Powder into your breakfast smoothie or baked goods or sprinkling cacao nibs on your fresh fruit or yoghurt bowl.