Chocolate is considered a delicious and nutritious snack, given that it is made from raw cacao, where most of its health benefits come from. Raw cacao, unlike processed cocoa powder and regular chocolate bars, is not exposed to high temperatures, which remove many of its unique health benefits. Here are more reasons why raw cacao is healthier than regular chocolate.
Provides vitamins and minerals: Raw cacao is rich in magnesium, which is essential for at least 300 different bodily processes. It plays a role in regulating blood pressure, blood sugar, and nerve functioning. It is also rich in iron, which is important for supporting blood health and regulating energy levels. Iron is also important in oxygen-carrying hemoglobin and in the prevention of anemia. Moreover, raw cacao is also a great source of B vitamins, which are important for energy, and zinc, which supports the immune system.
Keeps the heart healthy: Raw cacao is rich in powerful antioxidants that are good for the health, including cardiovascular health. In particular, raw cacao contains high amounts of the antioxidants called flavanols and procyanidins, which are known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Fights inflammation: The antioxidants in raw cacao fight off free radicals caused by stress, environmental toxins, and poor lifestyle habits. By fighting off free radicals, raw cacao also helps fight inflammation, warding off chronic disease.
Improves mood: Whenever you’re feeling down, eat some chocolate. Chocolate can lift up your mood not only because it tastes good, but also because it releases feel-good endorphins in the body.
Enhances brain function: Raw cacao also has beneficial effects on the brain. Research shows that its flavonoids can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. The flavonoids in cacao have also been linked to better attention, faster processing speed, and stronger working memory.
Improves insulin sensitivity: Many people stay away from chocolate because they believe it contains too much sugar. However, chocolate made from raw cacao actually helps prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. It also helps inhibit inflammation caused by diabetes. Researchers believe that these effects can be attributed to its flavonols.
Boosts energy levels: Raw cacao serves as an energy-boosting snack. This effect can be attributed to its caffeine content.
Combats stress: Eating chocolate made with raw cacao also helps reduce stress levels because of its high flavonoid content.
Fights aging: The powerful antioxidant content of raw cacao helps fight premature aging by supporting skin elasticity, which prevents wrinkling and sagging.
Relieves cough: Eating a small piece of pure chocolate or drinking a warm mug of hot chocolate with raw cacao may help relieve your cough. According to study, raw cacao contains theobromine, which relieves chronic cough by acting on the sensory nerve endings.