Cacao Beans are extraordinarily nutritious!
Magnesium: Cacao seems to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium is one of the great alkaline minerals. It helps to support the heart, brain, and digestive system (it fights constipation). Magnesium is also important for building strong bones. Magnesium balances brain chemistry and has a strong influence on feelings of ease and happiness. This is likely the primary reason women crave chocolate during the monthly cycle. Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD); over 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in Magnesium! Cacao has enough magnesium to help reverse deficiencies of this mineral.
Iron: Cacao contains 314% of the U.S. RDA of iron per 1 ounce (28 gram) serving. Iron is a critical mineral in nutrition. Iron is part of the oxygen carrying protein called hemoglobin that keeps our blood healthy.
Chromium: Chromium is an important trace mineral that helps balance blood sugar. Nearly 80% of Americans are deficient in this trace mineral. Chromium plays a significant role in detoxifying the liver from alcohols which build up during the fermentation process of sugars and starchs when we overeat or make bad food choices. It has a major influence on blood cleanse.
Anandamide: Anandamide (The Bliss Chemical) is an endorphin that the human body naturally produces after exercise. Anandamide has so far only been found in one plant — Cacao. Anandamide is known as “The Bliss Chemical” because it is released while we are feeling great. Cacao contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease our bodies’ ability to breakdown anandamide. This means that, when we eat cacao, natural anandamide and/or cacao anandamide may stick around longer, making us feel good longer.
Theobromine: Cacao usually contains about 1% theobromine. Theobromine is an effective anti-bacterial substance and kills streptococci mutans (the primary organism that causes cavities). Theobromine is a chemical relative of caffeine but is not a nervous system stimulant. Theobromine dilates the cardiovascular system making the heart’s job easier. This is one of the major reasons why cacao is an important part of a heart healthy diet.
Antioxidants: Cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world. These antioxidants include polyphenols, catechins, and epicatechins. By weight, Cacao has more antioxidants than red wine, blueberries, acai, pomegranates, and goji berries COMBINED.
Cacao Also Contains the Following Important Unique Nutrients:
Manganese: Manganese helps assist iron in the oxygenation of the blood and formation of hemoglobin. Interestingly, manganese is also concentrated in tears.
Zinc: Zinc plays a critical role in the immune system, liver, pancreas, and skin. Additionally, zinc is involved in thousands of enzymatic reactions throughout the human body.
Vitamin C: Cacao must be raw to contain vitamin C. All cooked and processed chocolate has no vitamin C. A one ounce (28 gram) serving of Cacao Beans supplies 21% of the U.S. RDA of Vitamin C. However, Cacao goes really good with fruits and greens that are high in Vitamin C and should be consumed together, there are yummy smoothies in our recipe section.
Omega 6 Fatty Acids: Cacao contains essential omega 6 fatty acids when it is RAW.
Phenethylamine (PEA): Phenylethylamine (PEA) is found in abundance in cacao. Because PEA is heat sensitive, much of the PEA in conventional cooked and processed chocolate is missing. PEA is the chemical that we produce in our bodies when we fall in love. This is likely one of the main reasons why love and chocolate have such a deep connection. PEA also plays a role in increasing focus and alertness.
Tryptophan: Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is transformed into important stress-protective neurotransmitters including serotonin and melatonin. Tryptophan is heat sensitive and therefore it is “cooked out” in many high protein foods and in conventional processed chocolate.
Serotonin: Serotonin is the primary neurotransmitter in the human body. Serotonin is similar in its chemistry to tryptophan and melatonin. Serotonin helps us build up our “stress defense shield.”
Does Cacao Contain Caffeine?
Specialists have different opinions about the subject. David Woolfe quote: ‘… Contrary to popular opinion, cacao is a poor source of caffeine. A typical sample of Cacao Beans or cacao beans will yield anywhere from zero caffeine to 1,000 parts per million of caffeine (less than 1/20th of the caffeine present in coffee)….’
My research and understanding: People seem to assume that caffeine is the only stimulant. Theobromine clearly has stimulant properties, so we reflexively attribute those effects to caffeine — even though many of the effects are fundamentally different from caffeine. I guess it is easier to just say it is caffeine. I believe that we casually refer to caffeine, when we really mean a whole class of chemicals called xanthines, of which caffeine is but one example. Theobromine is not addictive, Caffeine is. (The same confusion applies to Guarana and Mate: their chemical structure looks pretty similar to Caffeine as well).