Have you ever wondered if chocolate has any health benefits? Turns out that it does! But this is true for raw cacao as opposed to regular cocoa. Raw cacao is an amazing nitric oxide booster that also contains many nutrients and antioxidants.
What is raw cacao?
Raw cacao is the unprocessed material from which cocoa and chocolate are made. Raw cacao is produced from the bean of the cacao tree also known as theobroma cacao whose origin is the Amazon region. However, most cacao today is grown in countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Brazil and Indonesia. Cacao has been used as a food, an aphrodisiac or medicine for about 3,000 years.
But, while it is the source of cocoa, raw cacao is different from ordinary cocoa in that raw cacao is unprocessed while cocoa is processed using heat. Processing robs cocoa of some of the nutrients and other health enriching properties like phytochemicals, sulfur and magnesium such that compared to raw cacao, cocoa has minimal healthy properties.
In its raw or semi-processed form, cacao is a rich source of important nutrients like magnesium, selenium, potassium and copper. It also contains antioxidant phytochemicals that are beneficial to health, especially blood circulation by increasing production of nitric oxide.
Benefits of cacao for men
By boosting nitric oxide production, raw cacao greatly enhances men’s health in various ways including the following:
Helps in weight management and bowel movement
Raw cacao is rich in fiber which is necessary for a healthy weight and good bowel movement. By eating fiber-rich food regularly, you end up feeling full for longer so that you don’t have the urge to keep snacking. This can help you lose excess weight. Note, however, that chocolate and regular cocoa contain less fiber. They also contain sugar and milk and therefore cannot help in weight management. It is also worth to note that losing excess weight is important for both your overall health and sexual health in particular. Excess weight, especially around the abdomen besides endangering your cardiovascular health.
Raw cacao improves nervous and muscular functions
Cacao is rich in magnesium and potassium, minerals that are important for proper functioning of muscles and the nervous system among many other functions. Cacao also contains other properties that support muscle and nerve functions. Studies have found that cacao has positive effects on muscles and nerves.
Because cacao is rich in iron, its regular consumption can help prevent anemia. Anemia is a condition whereby blood is deficient in red blood cells which are necessary for transport of oxygen throughout the body. This leads to issues like fatigue and malaise and may also affect sexual ability. Be sure to also eat fruits rich in vitamin C for better iron absorption.
Reduces risks of heart disease and other circulatory problems
Raw cacao is a rich source of phytonutrients and antioxidants that are believed to help neutralize free radicals within the body. This reduces the damaging effects of oxidation leading to improved blood circulation. It also reduces the risks of developing cardiovascular diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Reduces chronic fatigue syndrome
Regular consumption of cacao can help reduce the effects of chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition in which a patient suffers from chronic syndrome such that he is unable to function normally. This may include poor sex drive and low energy. A study found that when patients consumed 15 grams of polyphenol-rich cocoa three times per day for eight weeks their chronic fatigue conditions improved.
Helps Relieves depression
Raw cacao contains tryptophan, an amino acid that has mood enhancing properties besides helping the body to produce the feel-good hormone known as serotonin. These compounds are responsible for better sleep and relief from depression.
Nutrition contents of Cacao
Raw cacao is a highly nutritious food. It contains carbohydrate, protein, fat and fiber. It also contains a number of vitamins and minerals like magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, manganese, selenium, potassium, zinc and phosphorus. Raw cacao is also rich in antioxidant phytonutrients.
Here is a list of the nutrition contents of cacao courtesy of the USDA: Calories 228 kcal – Total carbohydrate 9 g – Sugars 8 g – Total fat 7 g – Protein 6 g – Fiber 2 g
Vitamins: Vitamin E 1 mg – Caffeine 230 mg – Theobromine 2057 mg -Vitamin K 5 mcg -Niacin 2 mg – Riboflavin 2 mg -Thiamin 1 mg -Vitamin B6 1 mg -Pantothenic acid 3 mg – Folate 32 mcg – Choline 0 mg
Minerals: Potassium 1524 mg – Phosphorus 734 mg – Magnesium 499 mg – Calcium 128 mg – Sodium 21 mg – Iron 9 mg – Zinc 8 mg -Manganese 8 mg -Copper 8 mg – Selenium 3 mcg
According to figures from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), based on a 2000 calorie daily diet, 100 grams of raw cacao provides 39% daily value (DV) of protein, 21% DV of total fat, 125% DV of magnesium, 77% DV of iron, 189% DV of copper, 192% DV of manganese, 20% DV of selenium and 133% DV of dietary fiber.
How to use raw cacao
You can use cacao in various ways to enhance your virility, energy and general health. Note that only raw and minimally processed cacao contains all the nutritional benefits of theobroma cacao.
Here are a few ways to use raw cacao:
- Add one or two tablespoons of raw cacao powder to smoothies.
- Add cacao nibs, also known as cacao chips, to smoothies or trail mixes.
- Blend a tablespoon of cacao powder in a cup of cold or warm coconut or nut milk to make a great anti-oxidant drink. You may add some honey, maple syrup, stevia or vanilla for flavor.
- Eat a piece of minimally processed bar of raw cacao to get its maximum benefits.