Cacao is the base ingredient of chocolate, and while it may be a key part of creating a delicious snack, it is also able to help improve our health. This post will focus on how you can use raw cacao as a supplement, and we’ll go over the best raw cacao powder and also some raw cacao benefits.
What is Raw Cacao Powder?
Cacao and cocoa are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but there’s a bit of nuance in how they’re used when it comes to making supplements. In most cases, raw cacao powder refers to cocoa powder that hasn’t been sweetened and retains many of the healthy characteristics of the cacao from before it was pressed.
This powder can then be used to make chocolate, but it can also be consumed as a healthy dietary supplement. There are many raw cacao powder benefits, and some of these have been known for thousands of years, as cacao has been used in many different forms of traditional medicine throughout the years.
Raw Cacao Beans Benefits
Health Benefits from Polyphenols
Raw cacao contains plenty of polyphenols, which are naturally occurring ingredients that have antioxidant qualities. These can be found in vegetables, chocolate, fruits, wine, and tea. Polyphenols have been studied pretty considerably, and they have been shown to help with a wide range of health aspects.
For example, polyphenols have been shown to improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. Believe it or not, they can also improve blood sugar levels and cholesterol, which isn’t something that you’d necessarily expect from the base ingredient used to make chocolate.
Reduced Blood Pressure
Historically, raw cacao has been shown to reduce blood pressure, and this was first noticed when comparing Central American peoples from the islands. When compared to their relatives on the mainland, they had far lower blood pressure, and this was due to their penchant for drinking cocoa.
So how do polyphenols and raw cacao help cut down on your blood pressure? They do so through the flavanols that are present in them. When consumed, these increase the level of nitric oxide in your blood, which is the part of blood that is responsible for dilating our blood vessels.
Improved Brain Function
Yet another impressive benefit of raw cacao is that it can help the brain function better. This is because the polyphenols that are present in it are responsible for increasing the amount of blood that flows to the brain. With additional blood flowing to the brain, this allows neurons to be produced at a quicker rate.
As we’ve already mentioned, flavanols are responsible for producing nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels and increases blood flow. Studies determined that taking in cacao and other sources of flavanols daily can help improve the mental performance of average people.
Raw Cacao Powder Nutritional Information
Raw cacao powder is relatively healthy to consume, unlike too much milk chocolate. A serving of two tablespoons will typically contain about 130 calories, 7 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbs, and 8 grams of fibre. Provided it’s natural cacao powder, it should contain no sugar.
Raw Cacao Beans Nutrition Facts
Raw cacao beans, which are usually sold as cacao nibs, tend to have similar nutritional values to cacao powder. Two tablespoons of them will contain 140 calories, 2 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of fibre. They will also contain about 1 gram of sugar.
Raw Cacao Dangers
One thing to consider is that raw cacao contains plenty of caffeine, so if you’re limiting your caffeine intake, it may not be the supplement for you. Yet another issue is that theobromine, when taken in excessive quantities, can potentially damage the liver and other organs.
How to Consume Raw Cacao
Raw Cacao Nibs
Raw cacao nibs are essentially dried bits of raw cacao beans that have been packaged and sold for direct consumption. They’re usually a little more palatable than the raw beans themselves, which tend to be extremely bitter, but they provide many of the same health benefits you’ll get from the beans.
Raw Cacao Butter
Raw cacao butter is an excellent choice if you’re looking to make your own smoothies, since it will thicken them up and provide you with a healthy boost, as well. It can also be used as a moisturiser or a massage oil because it melts at the same temperature as our skin, much like coconut oil.
Raw Cacao Powder
Raw cacao powder and cocoa powder have a few key differences, but the main one is that raw cacao powder is as close to the cacao bean as possible. This means that it doesn’t have any added sugar or other flavours that may disrupt its healthiness.