Cacao powder comes from the seeds of the cacao fruit. Unlike traditional cocoa, cacao is not processed in the same way and so retains its antioxidants. It inhibits the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, preventing it from clogging up arteries, leading to cardiovascular disease. Raw cacao has 4 times more antioxidants than regular dark chocolate, which can help reduce inflammation.
Cacao also contains flavonoids which can help reduce blood pressure in those with mild hypertension as is improves nitric oxide levels, which enhance the function of blood vessels. The flavonoids also can increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, improving cognitive health and causing the brain to release neurotransmitters which help improve your mood, as tryptophan is converted to serotonin (the happy hormone).
Raw cacao is rich in non-haem iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Potassium is needed for muscular and neurological function and magnesium is needed for energy metabolism and bone health. There is emerging evidence suggesting it slows down carbohydrate digestion, increasing insulin secretion and glucose uptake, thus lowering blood glucose levels.
Cacao powder is also a source of fibre, which is important for supporting a healthy gut – and we all know how important gut health is for our overall physical health!
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