10 Benefits of Theobroma Cacao

Posted by Katey Brigham on

Cacao is one of the most sacred foods in the world. In fact, people hold “cacao ceremonies” in order to honor how powerful and sacred cacao is. How beneficial it can be for the human body and mind. Cacao is from the seeds of the fruit of the Theobroma cacao tree. There are different varieties. Today, we explore the many benefits of the mighty cacao and why we chose to include it in the Stamina Blend.

By the way we are not talking cocoa (more processed)-- we are talking cacao. Big difference!

Cacao Benefits

1. Cacao can improve nitric oxide levels

Improving nitric oxide levels means you can help lower blood pressure. This was first noticed in Central America, where it was noted that the people there had been drinking a lot of cacao, and had lower blood pressure than those who were living on the mainland and not drinking cacao (or not as much.) This is especially beneficial for people who already have high blood pressure or those who are seniors.

2. Cacao is beneficial for cardiovascular health


It’s always good to be doing something for the heart! In fact, it may reduce the risk of heart attack and heart disease. Cacao is rich in flavonols and it has been shown to relax and also dilate blood vessels and arteries. It also helps blood flow which of course the heart loves.

3. Cacao can elevate mood

By “elevate mood” we think know what we mean. Low mood? Cacao is wonderful for perking you right up. That’s why so many people feel happy when they eat chocolate! But cacao? Oh it’s even MORE maximized! Cacao is nature’s favorite mood booster. This could be due to a number of things like: Massive amount of flavonols, the pleasure of eating it, or the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. It has been shown that drinking cacao can improve contentment as well as calmness. This has been proven in seniors as well.

4. Cacao may help those with asthma

Asthma is a common problem and you might not think that cacao can support those with the condition, but cacao has been shown to have anti-asthmatic compounds. Those compounds are theophylline and theobromine. Theophylline isn’t talked about nearly as much as theobromine, but it’s a cool one because this compound has been shown to relax the airways within the lungs.

5. Cacao is massively high in polyphenols

This is a huge benefit of cacao. Polyphenols are certain antioxidants that have massive health properties. Polyphenols can help lower inflammation, improve blood flow, and even help lower inflammation. The heart loves polyphenols by the way, which we just covered.

6. Cacao is beneficial for the skin

Remember when people used to say that chocolate can cause acne? Well, yeah! When you are pairing it with tons of sugar, adding commercialized milk to it and other additives. But pure cacao is actually amazing for the skin. It has been proven to help the skin against damaging UV rays, it can increase dermal blood flow within the skin (hello glow!), and the antioxidants alone in cacao are enough to truly look at cacao as “skin food.” 


7. Cacao can support brain health

It almost produces a dopamine like effect, but the benefits go further than that. Cacao has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and also may help to slow neurodegenerative diseases. One study was really interesting- it was a two week study where adults (34 of them) were given cacao and they found that blood flow towards the brain improved, or rather increased, by 8% in the first week and then 10% the next week! Cacao has even been show to help cognitive function and even help those with cognitive disorders.

8. Cacao may improve dental health

Oral microbiome is so important and cacao can be beneficial. Now the milk chocolate bars, not so much. But cacao? Like in our stress blend? That’s what we are talking about! Cacao has been shown in rats to decrease dental cavities. Also, cacao contains polyphenols, tannins, and flavonals– all antioxidants that the teeth absolutely love.

9. Cacao can help balance blood sugar

Ah yes, balancing blood sugar is a big key to an energized life! Cacao has been shown to help balance blood sugar levels. In test-tube studies, we have seen that cacao flavanols can help with carbohydrate digestion (slowing it down) and also helping carbohydrates absorb better within the gut. Cacao has been shown in these studies to help improve insulin secretion and even rev up the uptake of sugar out of the bloodstream and into our muscles.

Test-tube studies indicate that cocoa flavanols can slow down carbohydrate digestion and absorption in the gut, improve insulin secretion, reduce inflammation and stimulate the uptake of sugar out of the blood into the muscle

10. Cacao promotes longevity

One of the strongest arguments for consuming cacao is that it has been shown to help prevent many diseases such as colon cancer, leukemia, liver cancer… just to name a few. In test-tube studies it has been shown that cacao can protect cells specifically against reactive molecules and the damage that can occur from them. Cacao can also fight inflammation and inhibit cell growth- even helping to prevent cancer cells from spreading. Flavonol-rich diets, in general, are great for this, as we know, cacao is packed with flavonols.

 

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