Friday, January 30, 2009

Discover the Benefits of Cacao - Raw Chocolate

Written by Tyler
Health Benefits of CacaoWhat is Cacao? Cacao is the seed (nut) of a fruit of an Amazonian tree that was brought to Central America during or before the time of the Olmecs. Cacao Beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as money! In 1753 Carl von Linnaeus, the 18th-century Swedish scientist, thought that cacao was so important that he named the genus and species of this tree himself. He named this tree: Theobroma cacao, which literally means “Cacao, the food of the gods.” There is no evidence to implicate Cacao Bean consumption with obesity. Cacao is actually one of the great weight loss foods because within its extraordinary nutrition profile it contains the minerals and molecules that shut off the appetite. Cacao is chocolate! All the antioxidant value, mineral benefits, neurotransmitter rejuvenating properties, and overall health-giving qualities of chocolate are found in Cacao Beans! The Cacao Bean is one of nature’s most fantastic superfoods due to its mineral content and wide array of unique and varied properties. Since many of the special properties of cacao are destroyed or lost in the process of making chocolate, we feel that planet Earth’s favorite food is still unknown to most of us. Now we get to reconnect with the power of real chocolate. With cacao products there is fantastic hope for chocoholics everywhere! You can turn cravings for cooked, processed, chocolate into super-nutrition with these products. Cacao Beans are extraordinarily nutritious!Cacao is the Best Natural Source of the Following Nutrients:Magnesium: Cacao seems to be the 1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium is one of the great alkaline minerals. It helps to support the heart, brain, and digestive system (it fights constipation). Magnesium is also important for building strong bones. This is likely the primary reason women crave chocolate during the monthly cycle. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and is associated with more happiness. Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD); over 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in Magnesium! Cacao has enough magnesium to help reverse these deficiencies.Iron: Cacao contains a significant amount of iron per serving. Iron is a critical mineral in nutrition. Iron is part of the oxygen carrying protein called hemoglobin that keeps our blood healthy.Chromium: Chromium is an important trace mineral that helps balance blood sugar. Nearly 80% of Americans are deficient in this trace mineral. Cacao has enough chromium to help reverse deficiencies in this mineral. Anandamide: Anandamide (The Bliss Chemical) is an endorphin that the human body naturally produces after exercise. Anandamide has only been found in one plant — Cacao. Anandamide is known as “The Bliss Chemical” because it is released while we are feeling great. Cacao contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease our bodies’ ability to breakdown anandamide. This means that, when we eat cacao, natural anandamide and/or cacao anandamide may stick around longer, making us feel good longer. Theobromine: Cacao usually contains about 1% theobromine. Theobromine has been shown to strengthen the enamel of the teeth and to reduce the incidence of cavities. Theobromine is a chemical relative of caffeine but is not a nervous system stimulant. Theobromine dilates the cardiovascular system making the heart’s job easier. This is one of the major reasons why cacao is an important part of a heart healthy diet.Antioxidants: Cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world. These antioxidants include polyphenols, catechins, and epicatechins. By weight, Cacao has more antioxidants than red wine, blueberries, acai, pomegranates, and goji berries COMBINED.Cacao Also Contains the Following Important Nutrients:Manganese: Manganese is an essential trace mineral. Manganese helps assist iron in the oxygenation of the blood and formation of hemoglobin. Zinc: Zinc is an essential trace mineral. Zinc plays a critical role in the immune system, liver, pancreas, and skin. Additionally, zinc is involved in thousands of enzymatic reactions throughout the human body.Copper: Copper is an essential trace mineral. Copper is found naturally in plants with vitamin C. In the human body, copper helps to build healthy blood. Phenylethylamine (PEA): Phenylethylamine (PEA) is found in abundance in cacao. PEA is the chemical that we produce in our bodies when we fall in love. This is likely one of the main reasons why love and chocolate have such a deep connection. PEA also plays a role in increasing focus and alertness. Tryptophan: Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is transformed into important stress-protective neurotransmitters including serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin: Serotonin is the primary neurotransmitter in the human body. Serotonin is similar in its chemistry to tryptophan and melatonin. Serotonin helps build up our “stress defense shield.”Does Cacao Contain Caffeine?Contrary to popular opinion, cacao is a poor source of caffeine. A typical sample of cacao beans will yield anywhere from zero caffeine to 1,000 parts per million of caffeine (less than 1/20th of the caffeine present in coffee). But don’t worry, the Theobromine will give you a noticeable increase in energy without making you feel nervous and jittery.In February 2008, Dr. Gabriel Cousens discovered in clinical tests on healthy people that Cacao does not elevate blood sugar in the same way as caffeine containing foods or beverages. In fact, Dr. Cousens found that cacao has less of an effect on blood sugar than nearly any other food.

Source:
http://www.wellspringdaily.com/?page_id=93

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