Cacao is derived from the Cacao tree and is often used as a raw ingredient (nibs or powder form) in many recipes. This chocolate like ingredient is packed full of nutrients and vitamins, including magnesium to enhance body function and boost energy levels! It was been shown to increase metabolism by reducing the stress hormone cortisol and providing an increase in gut microbial activity.
Cacao is high in anandamide and serotonin, two compounds which have been proven to reduce mood swings and normalise mood, helping to enhance general well being.
Additionally, cacao also contains flavanols: anti-inflammatory and heart protective anti-oxidants which protect us from heart disease, reduce our risk of stroke, lower blood pressure, increase blood circulation and lower bad cholesterol! Not to mention traces of theobromine which reduces risks of cold and flu.
It is thought that the antioxidants in cacao can help protect cells from premature oxidation and destruction, providing an anti-ageing effect! Cacao also contains high levels of sulfur which helps to stimulate collagen production. This improves hair and nail quality, skin complexion as well as the effectiveness of our liver and pancreas.
Cacao has also been found in studies to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and type II Diabetes!
With so many benefits, this superfood looks like it should be a vital part of our diet, why not try mixing cacao nibs or powder into your overnight oat pots or smoothies for a chocolatey kick!