Native to Central and South America, cacao beans are often processed to become cocoa and chocolate. Through this processing, cacao often loses many of its nutritional properties. On the other hand, raw cacao is packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, making it one of the world’s most popular superfoods.
Raw cacao on its own can taste bitter, so it is often added to other foods (like our Choco Loco tea blend) or ground into a powder so it can be used in smoothies, hot chocolate and baked goods. (Just be mindful of these products’ sugar content; excess added sugar cancels out cacao’s nutritional benefits!)
What are the health benefits of cacao?
Raw cacao contains special antioxidants called flavanols. Foods rich in flavanols provide a variety of health benefits for your body, including:
- Improved Heart Health: A number of studies show that flavanol-rich foods might help lower your blood pressure and improve the way your blood vessels’ walls function, lowering your risk of heart disease.
- Boosts Brain Health: A specific flavanol in cacao called epicatechin may help with some parts of brain health, including cognition and blood flow, and may reduce your risk for dementia.
- Improved Digestive Health: Cacao contains fibers that bacteria eat to create fatty acid chains that benefit your digestive system. Research shows that drinks made with cacao may increase the number of good bacteria in your gut.
- Decreases Diabetes Risk: Studies show that consuming cacao may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Lowers Stress Levels: Not surprisingly, eating dark chocolate can reduce stress, which ultimately boosts your overall mental and physical health.
What nutrients are in cacao?
Raw cacao is also a good source of many vitamins and nutrients including:
- Calcium: Cacao packs in more calcium than cow’s milk!
Looking to introduce cacao into your diet, in a way that's nutritious AND delicious? Get your daily dose with our Choco Loco black tea and cacao blend.