Some superfoods get much more time in the limelight than others. They just do. Cacao is certainly guilty of those attributes, taking the main stage and refusing to leave! In the 1700’s it was dubbed Food of the Gods by a Professor Carl Linnaeus, whose works are still recognised in today’s science world. I figured cacao wasn’t just another hype when I read that huge claim! I decided to dive head first into scientific research about cacao’s health benefits. I’m very convinced that you too, would happily indulge in chocolate, if it served a higher purpose than its mouth-watering taste?
I wrote about the key differences between cacao and cocoa in an article here. So before we go any further, remember that cacao is the purest form of chocolate on earth. Processed Cadbury Caramello simply won’t give you all the benefits listed below. Sorry!
Protect yourself against disease
One particular compound that is abundant in the cacao bean is polyphenols. It exists in plants to protect them from UV rays and harmful pathogens. It’s interesting to find studies that also show their ability to also protect cells and tissues within your body!
There’s a strong link between the consumption of polyphenols and the reduction in the growth of tumours in cancer patients. Nature is a pretty incredible thing. Polyphenols reduce inflammation in the body and also protects your cardiovascular system.
The most interesting aspect I found in various scientific studies, was the great hope attributed to polyphenols’ future prevention of chronic disease. With an alarming 50% of Australians suffering from a chronic disease, and 20% suffering from at least two, something surely has to be done to improve those stats.
Hang onto your glowing youth!
Adding cacao to your diet has been shown to slow down the ageing process. Again this is due to the high level of naturally occurring polyphenols.
When you hear the term anti-ageing you might just think of all those anti-wrinkle cream ads, but don’t forget about other aspects of the body that deteriorate over time. Polyphenols’ amazing properties aren’t just skin deep, as they also strengthen your nervous system and brain. I know I still want to be remembering my tales of adventures for my great-grandkids!
Cacao is rich in magnesium, a mineral which is vital for mental alertness. Dopamine and serotonin also naturally occur in cacao, which you may already know brings a spring in your step, as they are both feel good chemicals.
Boost your gut health and immunity
With a whopping 80% of your immune system located in your gut, it’s important to take measures to support your gut health. Having the correct balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut, begins with including probiotics in your diet, which increase your levels of good bacteria. A great starting point is including more cacao throughout your diet because you guessed it, cacao is a probiotic!
When there is an abundance of good bacteria in your gut, your immune system will be firing on all cylinders. This means your chances of catching anything from a simple cold to developing more serious disease will be greatly reduced.
While it’s true that there’s no magic pill that will keep all aspects of your health in tune, cacao features some pretty amazing all-round health benefits. It makes a lot of sense why it’s so highly acclaimed in the health world.
Article by Shannon Davidson on behalf of Ultimately Natural
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