This is the real, complete list of cacao butter, and hence dark chocolate health benefits.
While some people avoid eating chocolate because of the high-fat content, eating balanced quantities of the right kinds of fats is essential to maintain the body's optimal health and functioning.
If you are one of those souls that avoid fats, join the group that chooses to consume dark chocolate for its health benefits. One reason for this selection is the cacao butter included in the cacao seeds themselves or the cacao butter added to make the chocolate smooth.
Do you want to keep your heart healthy and be happy every day? You must keep reading our review.
WHERE DOES CACAO BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE COME FROM?
Chocolate comes from the cacao plant, a native tree of the Amazon River Basin, which, over time, was traded and brought to other areas of South and Central America. When harvested, the cacao pods are split open, and the cacao beans are removed, fermented, and dried. Then, two processes might take place:
Cacao butter is the plant's purest fat extract - it's unroasted, unsweetened, and comes from cold-pressing the cacao beans as mentioned above. This pure extraction also means that cacao fat maintains the cacao seeds' natural nutrients, which benefit and support your health.
Cacao Butter Has "Good Fat"
It is a fact that cacao butter has a high-fat content. However, this fat contains many "Good Fats" that promote overall health rather than compromise it.
One such healthy fat found in cacao butter is Oleic Acid. This monounsaturated fat is also found in foods like nuts, eggs, olive oil, and avocados.
Health Benefit #1 - Reduce Heart Disease
Oleic acid protects you against atherosclerosis (fat build-up in your blood vessels) by reducing cholesterol. A research study revealed that daily consumption of 6 grams of chocolate could reduce heart disease risk, in part because of the oleic acid content.
Health Benefit #2 - Diabetes Prevention
A study from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Cohort showed that regularly consuming one ounce of chocolate per week could lower the risk of diabetes by 34%.
Health Benefit #3 - Decrease High Blood Pressure
Another study of the Kuna Indians on the Caribbean coast of Panamá revealed that the tribespeople had an unusually low incidence of hypertension. This effect is attributed to cacao's regular consumption with doses of over five cups a day, even though their salt intake was relatively high.
Cacao butter also contains Stearic Acid, which is a saturated fatty acid. Contrary to popular myths that say saturated fat is bad for your health, studies show that stearic acid does not increase atherosclerosis risk. It actually reduces LDL cholesterol (cholesterol particle commonly linked with an increased risk of heart disease if too elevated).
Health Benefit #4 - Lower LDL Cholesterol
As mentioned above and in part because of cacao's stearic acid content, cacao butter, and as a consequence, dark chocolate, benefit your cholesterol particles profile.
It can also help reduce blood pressure, enhancing heart function, and lowering the risk of cancer.
Cacao butter also contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which play a significant role in handling triglycerides in your body. This fact contributes to your emotional well-being.
Health Benefit #5 - Reduce Depression
Consuming a healthy amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, like the ones contained in cacao butter and dark chocolate may reduce symptoms of depression.
That's why some people crave a piece of chocolate when they're feeling down or why women, during their menstrual cycles, might crave chocolate. Their serotonin levels take a dip, and the omega-3 fatty acids will intervene to elevate serotonin.
Health Benefit #6 - Cognitive Support
Omega-3 fatty acids also support cognitive function and help reduce cognitive impairment and dementia in the elderly. A Harvard Medical School study revealed that drinking two cups a day of hot chocolate could support brain health and lower memory loss in older people.
Health Benefit #7 - Lower Cancer Risk
The study mentioned above regarding Caribbean natives also showed a lower incidence of cancer. They have 15-fold lower cancer rates than their other fellow Panamanians. Remember, they consumed a high amount of cacao drinks per day, also showing a meager chance of high blood pressure. This is a great reason to consume more cacao.
So, How do you add cacao butter to your diet while enjoying #TheGoodnessOfLife? Here are some ideas:
Additional Benefit (#8) - People’s Lives
In addition to cacao fat's health benefits, today, there are many options to buy humanely-produced cacao products that benefit all the supply chain.
We mean that the chocolate maker sources its raw material directly from the farmer and pays a fair price, always much higher than commodity price. It is essential to understand that cacao beans are mostly considered a commodity, and many large chocolate corporations use child and slave labor to harvest and process cacao.
By buying craft cacao products within the bean-to-bar world, you invest your dollars in high-quality cacao; supporting entire farmers' communities and socially responsible practices. That is also part of the goodness of life!
Now it's your turn! As Michael Levine said, "Chemically speaking, chocolate is the world's perfect food." The healthy fats in cacao butter can help promote heart health, alleviate depression, reduce cancer, and enhance cognition.
Which benefit from this list are you going to take?
Photo by Alexandre Brondino on Unsplash
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