As if we needed an excuse to eat more chocolate, cacao is full of health promoting benefits… Cacao is considered a superfood, for good reason. Here are some of the many benefits…
Cacao is rich in antioxidants. When you think of foods that contain antioxidants, you probably think of blueberries. While blueberries do contain antioxidants, cacao has 40x the amount. Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation from free radicals. The reason we want to include foods rich in antioxidants and inhibit oxidation is because oxidation damages our cells, leading to more rapid aging.
Cacao is also an anti-inflammatory food. Inflammation in our body is actually a good thing, most of the time. It is the body’s way of healing itself if, for example, you get a cut. Inflammation is the response to that injury and it will send blood to help the healing process. However, chronic inflammation when there is no injury that needs to be healed can cause damage.
Cacao is a good source of iron, contains magnesium, and has more calcium than cow’s milk. If you eat a plant-based diet and are not eating any animal products, these benefits are particularly important for you to ensure that you are not deficient in iron or calcium.
Cacao also contains serotonin, anandamide, and theobromine which makes it a natural mood enhancer. In a study done in 2021, it was found that “the consumption of cocoa-rich products may improve affect and mood in the short term.” (source)
Bring it on! You can add cacao powder to your diet by adding it to a smoothie, latte, oatmeal, chia seed pudding, or desserts like healthy avocado chocolate mousse. Check out our Chocolate Lover’s Superfood Smoothie that is perfect for Valentine’s Day, below.
Chocolate Lover’s Superfood Smoothie
- 1 tablespoon of organic cacao powder
- 1 cup frozen strawberries (if using fresh strawberries, add a handful of ice to your smoothie)
- 1 cup plant-based milk of choice
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- 1 handful of spinach
- 1 scoop of collagen or protein powder of choice
- A dash of ceylon cinnamon
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until completely smooth