Welcome to, "The Complete Cacao Master List", on the healthy benefits and nutritional facts of eating or drinking cacao and chocolate in its many different forms. We won't cover snorting cacao. For more about what is cacao though, first, go check out my other blogs. As you will learn throughout the blog, and on this list, the nutrition does not occur from chocolate, but only from cacao consumption. Let these nutrition facts serve you as it has served us in a delicious pursuit for wellness. You will not find a better list of these benefits of cacao anywhere else, in one place, on the web.
"After water, cacao is the single healthiest substance you can put in your mouth. - Chris Kilham, Medicine Hunter.
If anyone ever asks, why eat (or drink) cacao instead of chocolate, use the following list to inform any cacao curious friends. If you want to eat chocolate anyway, just cross your fingers that you are getting some of these miraculous benefits. If you are eating milk chocolate, note that its likely none of the benefits will be absorbed by your body. Did you need another reason to try plant-based chocolate?
Let's start with most mind blowing cacao facts. Typically folks don't know about these because we are, as Americans, addicted to chocolate. Could the below information be the reason or is it just sugar? Either way, it is IMPOSSIBLE, to get addicted to cacao itself. Cravings, on the other hand can be based on the body's need for nutrition. Anything that creates dopamine in the brain can become "addictive". So being addicted to chocolate is really just an addiction to food or, substance abuse. This author's theory is that when we reach for chocolate, we are actually craving the nutrition in cacao (beans). Having been addicted to chocolate, all I can say is that not switching to cacao, you could potentially become pre-diabetic -- a disease in Hawai'i which affects 45% of the adult population. Some of the below data will be interesting, yet familiar. Like if you've ever researched cacao (or chocolate), you probably know it has over 1,200 chemicals (https://www.yogajournal.com
/lifestyle/we-tried-a-cacao-ritual-for-gratitude/). For comparison, coffee and wine have approximately 1,000 plant compounds, combined (http://www.coffeeteaimagazine.
com/coffee-wine-pairing/). Some of the data below includes and demonstrates a few, but not all, of the 1,200 chemicals in cacao.
Cacao contains: more calcium than milk
Its been established that dairy-milk leaches calcium from bones and causes osteoporosis. Without a PhD, its still easy to do the math -- milk chocolate may not be your best go to for any nutrition.
Cacao also has endocannibinoids and mood elevators like:
tryptophan precursor to serotonin, "The Happy Molecule";
phenylethylamine (PEA) "The Love Molecule"; norepinephrine "The Joy Molecule"(produced by PEA). From cacao, and again, not from milk chocolate, there are anti-depressants like effects from compounds that cause satiation. They are N-linoleoylethanolamide and oleoylethanolamide. They prevent the break down of anadamide and other cannibiniods including THC, making effects last longer (https://nootropicsdepot.com/articles/chocamine-clinically-studied-cocoa-extract-memory-focus-concentration), (https://toakchocolate.com/blogs/news/can-dark
-chocolate-enhance-the-functional-benefits-of-cbd-and-improve-your-endocannabinoid-tone). Seratonin, created from tryptophan absorption can also help depression (by the way). To get the most mood lifting benefits, just confirm you are reaching for cacao not chocolate.
Learn anything new yet? Well, did you know that:
Cacao has anti-depressant effects from MAOI's as well? They do but they are mild.
Cacao is an appetite suppressant too? "YES", cacao works so much less effectively than coffee in this regard. Thankfully.
Psychoactive terpenes or mind-altering aroma molecules also exist in chocolate and cacao beans. This where the science gets psychotropic.
Who knew terpenes could effect our affect mental processes, e.g. perception, consciousness, cognition or mood and emotions? Linalool, which is a terpene in cacao listed below, is an anti-convulsant which reduces seizures (epilepsy). Its also a sedative and muscle relaxer (https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/linalool-cannabis-terpene-benefits).
Here is a running list of cacao terpenes which will be contemporaneously updated:
In order to post up-to-date terpene profiles and always share powerful cacao facts, this post may be edited often. If you have done some interesting cacao research, that is too cool! Knowing all about what other facts and research is out there is super important. Want to share? Go ahead and write something that was left out from this list. The comment section below is waiting for you!
Back to the list?
Cacao works as an:
pineal gland stimulator ("the seat of the
But that's not all. Cacao is number one at strengthening teeth, beating fluoride head-to-head. That data is all over the internet and there are new cacao based toothpastes just coming on the market! Read more about it at https://www.jioh.org/article.asp?issn=09767428;year=2019;volume=11;issue=2;spage=100;epage=103;aulast=Pribadi.
Cacao helps burns fat! I wish that chocolate did... Here are some reactions within the body by which cacao can fight obesity and aid in weight loss;
meal terminating anandamide.
Hungry for more cacao facts, or just cacao itself? Because, believe it or not, there are lots more. Grab this 100% Cacao Bar to eat or drink it right away if you can't wait to read the rest. For those readers who aren't excited about cacao yet, keep reading!
That cover's about half of it. You see, cacao has cocoa butter in it. Many already know cocoa butter to be healthy, but let's not underestimate it. Cocoa butter can be up to 50% of a cacao/cocoa bean's composition. The other half, the cacao/cocoa mass, is where the earlier listed nutrients, polyphenols, flavanols, phytonutrients, and minerals exist. So what is cocoa butter good for if all of the cocoa mass is pressed out? I have some conveniently listed below for fellow chocophiles.
The benefits from internal and external use of cocoa butter are:
What more could one want from a bean? These beans have more nutritional values than any single vegetable. What do you think could be added to make this food even more amazing!?
How does it do all the above? Well, here is a brief list of all the elements in cacao (some repetitions from earlier). Taken from Herbs-Plants.com:
Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6
Vitamins A, C and E
Omega 6 fatty acid
soluble fiber and,
several other beneficial phyto-elements
There is so much going on in cacao. Let's not forget that chocolate has a lot of contaminants allowed. This isn't fun to report, but it is really important to know.
Chocolate may include distinctly different contaminants like:
insects, larvae or parts (up to 60 fragments in 100 grams)
other plants or unprocessed cacao remnants
fungi (mycotoxins, ochratoxin A, etc.) like mold, or yeast
cadmium, lead and/or other heavy metals
animal hair (1 in 100 grams)
mammalian or avian excreta
foreign matter (like cigarette butts, sticks, stones and burlap bagging)
hexane (E442), process contaminants, and other toxic chemicals
bacteria or other micro organisms
Hopefully you've made it this far, and, have learned at least 1 thing. If you have, keep going deeper. Additives in chocolate? This following mini-list does not concern cacao-only people. Note: food additives are not contaminants; maybe some of them should be considered that way...
Talking about chocolate additives, though they have nothing to do with cacao, are really just another reason to consume cacao. This link is to a cacao product that has no additives. It's pure cacao and has no known side affects. Drink it daily for the most benefits. Just dont mix it with milk!
Here is list of chocolate avoidable additives:
Lecithin (Soy, Sunflower or Canola) Paraffin/Carnauba Wax Cochineal Bug and other Food Coloring
Sorbitan Tristearate / E492
Soy, Cottonseed, Palm or Palm Kernel Oil Shellac, secretion of the lac bug TBHQ / E319 Mono and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids
Also, glyphosate. Glyphosate is "Round Up", made by Monsanto and occurs way more than the legal limit in most chocolate. Way, way more. One would imagine they are trying to kill all the cockroaches, but the carcinogens in most all pesticides are actually most likely to kill you https://www.momsacrossamerica.com/glyphosate_chocolate.
Know that with the amount of data compiled, an attempt was made to keep things light. There will however, not be a quiz. But, what is the one piece of information that sticks out to you the most so far?
Discuss cacao without including its aphrodisiac effects? No way! It's a favorited component of cacao's alchemy -- one fact that seems to stick out to people. Cacao works like viagra increasing blood flow to the sexual organs for both men, woman and all those beautiful gender-identities in between. There are so many ways that cacao seduces us all. It's obvious cacao's mouthfeel, flavor and aroma, are sensual. Cacao's allure is not overly extroverted, because there are unknown ways it seduces us.