Cacao, also commonly referred to as cocoa, is the completely fermented and desiccated oily seed extracted from Theobroma cacao. Cocoa butter and cocoa solids are made from cacao, also known as cocoa bean or cacao bean. Cacao generally acts as the foundation for chocolates in addition to a bevy of Mesoamerican food items, examples being tejate and mole.
Subject to the fact that cacao was considered valuable for its aphrodisiacal and medicinal properties; it was used as a form of currency by some of the old civilizations in South America.
How does cacao benefit you?
• The bare powder obtained from cacao is a rich source of antioxidants.
• Also, cacao also contains calcium, protein, thiamin, carotene, magnesium, riboflavin, flavonoids, sulphur and necessary fatty acids.
The combined effect of all these chemicals plays an instrumental role in influencing the naturally present phytochemicals. These phytochemicals exert supremely beneficial effects on the body including lowering the LDL cholesterol, improving the functions of heart and substantially decreasing the risk of cancer.
One of these chemicals is Phenethylamine, commonly known as PEA. This chemical is known to be secreted into the gray matter when a person gets attracted to someone else. However, naturally occurring stress and pain reducing substances, commonly referred to as neurotransmitters, play a big role in stimulating the release of endorphins in order to make a person stay focused and alert.
Numerous studies have established that cacao could make an impact on your mood and emotions by increasing the level of serotonin in the body. This is precisely the reason why people crave for chocolates when they are sad. Cacao also contains theobromine, a chemical which is commonly used for the treatment of depression. The chemical releases a compound that goes by the name of anandamide and creates the feeling of contentment and relaxation.
Flavanols, generally found in cacao, can excite the endothelium or the coating of the arteries, in order to create Nitric Oxide (NO), a gas. NO sends signals to arteries to calm down. Consequently, the resistance to blood flow is lowered resulting in the reduction of blood pressure.
It has also been found out that cacao could benefit your skin as well. The flavanols have the potential to prevent sun damage, enhance the flow of blood to skin and augment skin hydration and density.