Cacao Beans: Food of the Gods
Cacao is derived from Theobroma Cacao beans, which literally means "Food of
the Gods". Cacao contains over 300 compounds including: protein, fat,
carbohydrates, fibre, iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium. Magnesium helps
to build strong bones and is a muscle relaxant associated with feelings of
calmness. Cacao is also high in sulphur, which helps form strong nails and hair.
Cacao beans contain an unbelievable 621 anti-oxidants.
Cocoa nibs are cocoa beans that have been roasted, separated from their husks
and broken into smaller pieces. Cocoa nibs can be eaten as a snack or added to
baked goods and other dishes for added crunch and chocolaty flavour. These
flavourful little pieces also have great nutritional value.
One oz of cocoa nibs contains 130 calories, 13 grams of fat, 10 grams of
carbohydrates and 3 grams of protein. They are a one of the best dietary sources
of magnesium as well as a good source of calcium, iron, copper, zinc and
Cocoa nibs contain 272 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams. Magnesium is an
important mineral that many people are known to be deficient in. Some studies
indicate that up to 80 percent of Americans are lacking sufficient magnesium
levels. Magnesium plays a major role in nerve and muscle function, bone strength
and circulation. It cannot be produced by the body, and therefore, must be
obtained through food sources or supplements. Cocoa nibs are a delicious way to
meet the dietary requirements for this important nutrient.
Studies show that cocoa nibs have higher antioxidant levels than blueberries,
red wine and green tea. The antioxidants in cocoa nibs are also more stable than
in other foods and are easy for the body to assimilate.
Health Benefits of Cacao beans.
Energy Boost: Cocoa nibs contain a substance called theobromine, a central
nervous system stimulant that has a similar, though less powerful, stimulating
effect as caffeine. It may give you a healthy energy boost if you're feeling low
during the day.
Mood Elevators: Cocoa contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid required for
the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Enhanced serotonin levels can
quell anxiety and enhance mood. Eating cocoa also helps to release endorphins,
the bodyís natural opiates. Endorphins are what give runners that natural high.
Eating cocoa can have a similar effect and may explain why some people become
PMS Symptoms: Magnesium deficiency is known to aggravate the symptoms of
premenstrual syndrome. Forty per cent of women admit to chocolate cravings. This
may be the bodyís attempt to obtain sufficient magnesium levels. Since cocoa
nibs are a natural snack without added sugar, they may be a healthier way to
satisfy monthly chocolate cravings.
Appetite Control: Coco contains chromium an important mineral for stabilizing
blood sugar and reducing appetite.
Improve Circulation: Cocoa is a great source of flavanols, powerful antioxidants
that play an important role in circulation. Flavanols help to prevent clogged
arteries by helping to stop fatty acids from oxidizing in the bloodstream.
Flavanols also help make blood platelets less sticky, which reduces the risk of
blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.
Improve Cholesterol Levels. Cocoa contains healthy monounsaturated fats. The
same fats found in olive oil. These healthy fats have been shown to raise good
cholesterol (HDL) levels. According to BBC News Health, a study performed at
Hull University indicated that the consumption of chocolate bars with a high
cacao content, such as dark chocolate, yielded lower total blood cholesterol
levels and high levels of high density lipoproteins or "good cholesterol." It
should be noted that all types of chocolate bars will not yield this benefit.
Milk chocolate bars will not yield the same level of cholesterol-lowering
benefits because they contain sugar and milk. The higher the cacao content of
chocolate, the greater its cholesterol-lowering benefit will be.
Antioxidant Benefits: Extracts from the cacao bean have been scientifically
proven to have a high concentration of antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemicals
that rid your body of free radicals that cause cell damage and promote disease.
A study performed by Ki Won Lee and published in " The Journal of Agricultural
and Food Chemistry" in 2003 revealed that cacao had much higher concentration of
antioxidants than other well-known sources of antioxidants such as black tea,
green tea and red wine.
Cardiovascular Benefits: Scientific studies have also shown that consumption of
cacao has some heart healthy benefits. Researchers from the University of
California-Davis were among several research groups that were a part of a
multifaceted study involving the Kuna Indians of Panama. The study revealed that epicatechin, an antioxidant chemical found in cacao beans, has a direct
correlation with the cardiovascular benefits of cacao. The results of the study
revealed that consumption of epicatechin promotes improved blood circulation of
the coronary blood vessels, relaxation of the coronary blood vessels, and
improved overall cardiovascular function in humans.
Cancer Protection: Scientific research have also indicated that cacao beans
possess anti-cancer properties. A study by Carine Jourdain and other researchers
in "European Journal of Cancer Prevention" stated that the antioxidants
contained in the cacao bean, beta-sitosterol in particular, play a protective
role against the development of cancer. The study examined the effect of beta-sitosterol
at various concentrations against human prostate cancer cells. The results of
the study revealed that the highest concentration of beta- sitosterol offered
complete growth inhibition of both metastatic and non-metastatic human prostate
This food is so special, that a long time ago in Mexico City they even used it
as currency. Thatís how amazing and valuable the cacao bean was considered to
be. Now you can just pick up a giant bag for around US$15.
Cacao also contains the chemicals phenylethylamine (PEA) and anandamide. PEA is
an adrenal-related chemical that we create naturally when we're excited. It also
plays a role in feeling focused and alert because it causes your pulse rate to
quicken, resulting in a similar feeling to when we are excited or fall in love!
Another 'bliss' chemical found in chocolate is the lipid anandamide. It's there
in our brain when we feel great. Anandamide is also called "chocolate
amphetamine" as it causes changes in blood pressure and blood-sugar levels,
leading to feelings of excitement and alertness.
Anandamide works like amphetamines to increase mood and decrease depression, but
it is not addictive like caffeine or illegal with undesirable side-effects like
Anandamide is quite unique in its resemblance to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a
chemical found in marijuana.
The good news is that even though the anandamide in chocolate helps to create
feelings of elation, the effect is not the same as the THC in marijuana. It
would take approximately twenty five pounds of chocolate to achieve a 'high'
similar to marijuana and the nausea would overpower any feelings of bliss at
Out of 300 plus compounds found in raw cacao there are at least two:
1) theobromine - affects our nervous system
2) oxalic acid - inhibits calcium absorption
Dated 09 August 2013