Here’s delicious news that will make your heart rejoice: the raw form of chocolate (cacao) has a host of health benefits, including reducing risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). What’s more, it contains more disease-fighting antioxidants than do such “superfruits” as blueberries, cranberries, and acai, according to a study published in Chemistry Central Journal.
One of the most ancient medicinal foods, raw cacao (spelled cocoa in the US) come from cacao beans, the seeds of the fruit of the Theobroma cacao tree, a scientific name that literally means “food of the gods.” Centuries ago, Aztecs considered beans so valuable that they were actually used as money as well as the drink of the elite.
In fact, raw cacao has such powerful healing effects that I actually “prescribe” it, in moderate amounts, as one of the Omni nutripower foods recommended in my book, The Omni Diet: The Revolutionary 70% Plant + 30% Protein to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, Fight Inflammation, and Change Your Life Forever*, where you can read about more delicious superfoods—and how to lose up to 12 pounds in 2 weeks.
One of the most intriguing findings about cacao comes from studies of the Kuna Indians, who live on islands off the Panamanian coast. Scientists discovered a surprising secret of their remarkable low rate of CVD, despite their relatively high salt intake. Genes weren’t protecting the Kuna, since they developed high blood pressure and CVD at typical rates if they gave up their native ways, moved to the mainland and began eating a typical Western diet.
“What was particularly striking about their environment was the amount of cocoa they consume, which was easily 10 times more than most of us would get in a typical day,” Dr. Brent M. Egan, a researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina who studies the effect of chocolate on blood pressure, stated in a recent National Institutes of Health report, “Claims About Cocoa: Can Chocolate Really Be Good for You?”
What the researchers discovered was that the Kuna made a drink with raw cacao (using dried and ground beans), with only a little added sweetener.
Here’s a look at more new findings about the health benefits of raw cacao:
Remember, great health is about abundance, not deprivation! The Omni Diet* is about filling your diet with a wealth of delicious, nutritious foods that will heal your body from the inside out and give you vibrant health!