Not to be confused with cocoa, cacao is the raw form that has not been roasted (3). It is considered to be a superfood by some because of its beneficial properties. In past and recent studies, researchers found that antioxidants, such as theobromine, and minerals, including magnesium, in cacao can possibly reverse negative effects in the body (1, 2). Utilizing cacao as a substitute reduces the amount of sugar and calories consumed in a meal. In an ounce, there are only 120 calories where 23 calories arise from fats but do not contain any trans-fats or cholesterol (1). Because it includes 7 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and 1.5 grams of saturated fat in one ounce of cacao powder, it is a great alternative for those who choose to pursue the vegan lifestyle (1).
Previous studies have shown that potentially supplementing cacao into toothpaste can provide protection against enamel erosion of the teeth (2). Other evidence from an epidemiological standpoint reveals that asthma can be alleviated by cacao to better lung functionality (2). Consuming cacao can also reduce the possibility of developing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s (2). Although this is just a short list of good outcomes, further research should be conducted as there is not enough evidence on whether excessive amounts can reverse these positive effects.
- “Cacao Nutritional Facts.” The Superfoods. N.p., 13 Sept. 2013. Web. 21 July 2016. <http://www.thesuperfoods.net/cacao/cacao-nutritional-facts>.
- Franco, Rafael, Ainhoa Oñatibia-Astibia, and Eva Martínez-Pinilla. “Health Benefits of Methylxanthines in Cacao and Chocolate.” Nutrients. MDPI, 18 Oct. 2013. Web. 21 July 2016. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820066/>.
- Levin, Jordanna. “The Real Difference between Cacao and Cocoa.” I QUIT SUGAR with Sarah Wilson. N.p., 23 May 2016. Web. 21 July 2016. <https://iquitsugar.com/raw-cacao-vs-cocoa-whats-the-difference/>.