What is Superfood?
The term “superfood” refers to any nutritionally dense food that has a positive effect on your health. Superfoods are known to prevent chronic diseases and improve your overall health as they are rich in compounds like antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and fatty acids. Plant-based foods like cacao, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains top the superfood list. To protect the super quality, superfoods must be grown organically and processed minimally. One such example of a nutrient powerhouse is cacao superfood. Let’s check out why it is called “superfood.”
Why is Cacao Known as Superfood?
Organic cacao is a natural superfood that is rich in magnesium, antioxidants, iron, zinc, and neurotransmitters. Its nutritional component is known to promote wellbeing and happiness. Organic cacao contains flavonoids, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, potassium, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. It is rich in vitamins like vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, and E.
This is a nutritional factsheet for 1 ounce of organic cacao:
|Calories – 120|
|Saturated Fat – 1.5g|
|Dietary Fiber – 7.0g|
|Protein – 5g|
|Calcium – 4%DV|
|Iron – 16%DV|
|Sodium – 20mg|
|Calories from fat – 23|
|Total Carbohydrates – 19g|
Cacao Superfood Health Benefits
- Improves Heart Health
As we mentioned earlier, cacao contains magnesium and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Magnesium is a deficient mineral and is required to improve the blood flow and oxygen level in the veins and arteries. Studies have shown that eating monounsaturated fats decrease your cholesterol level and reduce heart risk. Theobromine in cacao reduces thickening of arterial walls and prevents plaque build-up. It dilates blood vessels and relaxes tense muscles.
- Boosts Brain Function
Magnesium promotes heart health which is essential for proper brain functioning. Cacao contains minerals like anandamide and tryptophan which are known to boost cognitive ability. Oleic acid found in this superfood boosts memory power.
- Enhances Skin Health
You won’t believe in the superpowers of cacao superfood for skincare. The high amount of antioxidants in it repairs the damaged skin and prevents aging. The antioxidants improve blood flow to the surface of your skin. The natural oil derived from cacao called cacao butter contains omega-6 fatty acids that have a rejuvenating effect, thus helping you get healthy, glowing skin.
- Relieves Stress and Weight Loss
Eating cacao stimulates the production of digestive enzymes that boost your metabolism power. Magnesium acts as a natural laxative and improves insulin function. Tryptophan in cacao boosts the formation of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter. It helps you fight the feeling of depression and stress.
How Cacao is Made
Cacao beans are derived from the cacao tree – Theobroma cacao – which grows to 10-30 feet in height. The tree starts to bear fruits 4 years after planting. Harvesters remove ripe cacao seed pods from the tree. Each seed pod contains 30-50 cacao beans.
The pods are opened with a machete or wooden club to split it into two halves. The beans are scooped out and put inside a box. They are covered with banana leaves for better fermentation.
Fermentation must be done carefully for 5-7 days as it helps to bring out the best flavors in cacao products. The beans are removed from the box and dried in the sun to reduce moisture content. This process can take up to a week.
Once dried, they are taken to a processing plant for roasting. The temperature and time of roasting depends on the beans used and vary according to different brands. Roasting is followed by winnowing which helps to remove the outer husk layer and crack open the seeds. Then the cacao nibs are grounded in stone grinders to form cacao powder.
How to use Cacao every day
The cacao powder has a nutty flavor and tastes bitter. It can be consumed daily to give a delicious yet healthy boost to your diet. Cacao recipes not only taste good but they are healthy too. If you are looking to get the cacao superfood dose daily, then try these recipes:
- Chocolate Maca Smoothie
- Chocolate Milkshake
- Chocolate Malt Ice Cream
- Vegan Chocolate Brownies
- Chocolate Pudding
- Chocolate Truffles
- Chocolate Cake
- Homemade Chocolates
Cacao superfood is called the Food of Gods because of the health benefits it offers. It promoted optimal cardiovascular health, balances brain chemistry, enhances skin health and relieves stress. It makes us feel so good! These are not the only reasons why you should try cacao. There is one more! It’s delicious! Try it.