Chocolatey Chronicles: Exploring the Health Benefits of Cacao
Ah, cacao, the understated star of the pantry. Often overshadowed by its flashier counterparts, cacao quietly reigns supreme with its deep, complex flavours and impressive health benefits. It's not just a key ingredient in your favourite chocolate bar; it's a powerhouse of nutrients waiting to be explored in your protein smoothie.
What You'll Learn
- Uncovering the Differences Between Cocoa and Cacao.
- What Makes Cacao Such a Superhero?
- Is Cacao a Mood Enhancer?
- How Does Cacao Benefit Heart Health?
- Can Cacao Products Improve Skin Health?
- The Final Verdict on Cacao.
Uncovering the Differences Between Cocoa and Cacao
Cacao and cocoa both originate from the beans of the Theobroma cacao tree, the way they are processed sets them apart.
Cacao is made from fermented beans that have not been roasted. They are processed at low temperatures and then milled into a powder. The result is a powder that's bitter in taste and higher in nutritional content like selenium, magnesium, chromium, and manganese (McCulloch and Matysiak, 2023).
Cocoa powder on the other hand is made from beans that are both fermented and roasted, and then processed at a much higher temperature. The result is a less bitter, slightly darker powder that has lost some of its nutritional value.
What Makes Cacao Such a Superhero?
Cacao is brimming with flavonoids that fight free radicals to keep your cells in top shape. High levels of free radicals can lead to cellular damage and subsequent inflammation.
Cacao can help to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol. Theobromine in Cacao has been shown to reduce levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels, whilst increasing ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.
Tryptophan in Cacao is an amino acid which can be converted to melatonin – a hormone important for feelings of sleepiness.
Consuming cacao is like giving your body an internal shield, protecting it from the stresses and strains of daily life.
Is Cacao a Mood Enhancer?
Ever wondered why chocolate makes you feel like you've been enveloped in a warm embrace? That's because of the chemicals present in cacao, the key ingredient in the cocoa-based products that we love.
Chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine are natural mood elevators, meaning that each sip or bite filled with cocoa is a step towards happiness (maybe it can indeed be found in a chocolate bar).
How Does Cacao Benefit Heart Health?
Cacao, far from being a mere indulgence, plays a vital role in heart health, acting like a personal trainer for your cardiovascular system. This ingredient works tirelessly to tone and condition your blood vessels and enhance circulation, but with an added dash of deliciousness.
In short, the regular consumption of flavonoids (which are heavily present in cacao), is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (Selmi C et al, 2006).
By incorporating cocoa into your regular diet, you're not just satisfying your taste buds; you're also taking a proactive step towards maintaining a robust and healthy heart, ensuring it continues to beat with vigor and vitality.
Can Cacao Products Improve Skin Health?
Not only is this bean a nutritional powerhouse, but it also doubles as a secret weapon for your skin. Packed with antioxidants and promoting blood flow, cacao and cocoa are like mini spa treatments, working their magic from within. Who knew that a key to radiant skin could be found in products from your kitchen cupboard?
In conclusion, the enchanting world of cocoa offers much more than just a rich, indulgent flavour. It's a journey into wellness, where every sip and bite brings you closer to a healthier, more vibrant lifestyle.
So, whether you're starting your day with a Morning Glory smoothie, indulging in a Health Nut treat, or revitalising with a Zest Fest, remember, you're not just enjoying a delicious moment, you're embracing a life of wellness and joy, one cocoa-infused sip at a time.
Why Choose EXALT?
At EXALT, we specialise in great tasting drinks and nutritional blends to support your healthy lifestyle alongside your workout. From pre-workout, to cold-pressed juices for a juice cleanse, to vegan smoothies, try our recipes designed by experts.