Raw Cacao Is A Superfood For Your Brain

Brain Foods

raw cacao beans

When the Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés came to Mexico in 1519, he was mistaken for a God (a bad mistake, as it turned out soon after). The Aztec king Montezuma generously welcomed Cortés with a cup of chocolatl – the drink made of cacao beans was a very popular at the time. Montezuma used to consume up to 50 cups of it and Cortés confirmed it´s highly energizing quality.

Cacao – the Currency of Ancient Mexico

Chocolate Is Not The Real Deal

The popular chocolate bars we know today are only loosely related to the original, raw organic cacao. I do not recommend that you eat great amounts of chocolate just to get the cacao content. The cacao used in chocolate bars is processed and chemically treated to an extent that is has lost most of its highly beneficial qualities and provides you with nothing more than extra fat and sugar.

Cacao is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate.  It´s not sweet and buttery like the chocolate you’re more familiar with. Cacao is actually bitter. But we’re not looking for pleasant taste here – we want the brain benefits. Which it has plenty. Cacao is a universal health promoter that protects not only a person’s mental functions but also one’s skin and heart. It´s untreated seeds  can be considered a super-food offering a wide range of antioxidants,  vitamins and minerals.

Raw Cacao – The Food Of The Gods

Cacao beans grow on trees called ‘Theobroma cacao’, which translates to “cacao, the food of the Gods” in Greek.  They grow mostly in  Central and South America. One cacao pod that emerges from the tree will yield between 40 and 60 cacao seeds. After the pods are harvested and opened, the seeds are removed and undergo a natural fermentation process. Then, after drying for ten days, the result is raw cacao beans.
At this stage, all the valuable nutrients are still present in the bean. But in the process of making chocolate, most of them get lost. The raw cacao beans are roasted to produce ‘cocoa’, then sugar and fats are added until there is little left of the beans.

cacao tree

The high temperature during the roasting process deteriorates most of the antioxidants in the cacao, vastly reducing the powerful health benefits found in the original, raw cacao. To get all the benefits from cacao, look for raw, non-roasted cacao beans.

The Benefits Of Raw Cacao

  • Raw cacao has plenty of antioxidants, which are crucial for optimum health and are supreme brain foods at the same time. Over 600 antioxidants are found in raw organic cacao, which is more than in goji berries, oranges, red wine, green tea, or blueberries.
  • Raw Cacao is one of the best plant-based sources of magnesium. Magnesium is vital for many bodily functions and tends to be lacking in most western diets. It helps to turn sugar into energy, prevents muscle cramps and enables the brain to work with focus and clarity.
  • Raw organic cacao contains several neurotransmitters like dopamine, anandamide, and serotonin. These chemicals are directly related to feelings of happiness. Their lack on the other hand promotes depression. This fact alone could be reason enough to add cacao to your diet.

The best way to get the benefits of this ancient health food is to mix cacao powder into any of your drinks like coffee, hot water or milk. Never mind the bitter taste. Just think about how the cacao will help your thinking process in the long run!

Raw cacao contains:

  • Magnesium, and other essential minerals including calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
  • Polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties
  • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
  • Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
  • Protein, Fiber

The cacao bean consists of:

  • 54% Fat (Cocoa butter)
  • 31% Carbohydrates
  • 11% Protein
  • Polyphenols and Minerals

Here are five more ways to add raw cocoa powder to your diet

You will find more tips on brain foods in the “Increasing Your Brain Power” eBook.

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