Eating chocolate, according to an article in The New England Journal of Medicine, may be the simplest way to make yourself more intelligent.
The statistical study, which used the number of Nobel Prizes given to a country as it's measure of populous intelligence, found a strong relationship between chocolate consumption and intellect.
Unfortunately, the majority of chocolate sold in your supermarket is very far removed from the cacao beans grown naturally. Chocolate goes through a lot of processing, with many ingredients added to gain that smooth consistency. In fact, “natural” chocolate flavour, which is found in many chocolate-flavoured foods, has no nutritional benefit whatsoever.
But before you take out the tissues, there is a solution - cacao!
Cacao is the unprocessed versions of the cacao bean. Unlike normal chocolate, which has been heavily processed and heat treated, all of the healthy benefits, such as antioxidants and flavonoids in cacao are still in tact.
While cacao contains a myriad of healthy components, it’s most outstanding benefit is the effect that is has on our brain and mental health.
FLAVONOIDSCacao contains flavonoids, which are thought to be the chemicals behind the increase of brain function, acting as antioxidants and stimulating neuronal function and regeneration in the brain.
MAGNESIUMCacao is also one of the best sources of magnesium, which is needed for hundreds of metabolic functions, and has large-scale effects on the brain and mental health. Low magnesium is linked to anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, and schizophrenia.
BLOOD FLOWThe cardiovascular benefits of Cacao increases blood flow levels to the brain, boosting cognitive function by cleaning out accumulated toxins and supplying more oxygen rich blood. Cacao has therefore been shown to increase vascular function in human brains, coinciding with direct psychological effects, including increased memory and learning.
Bare Blends’ Organic Raw Cacao Powder is organically grown in the Satipio province of the Junín Region, located in the central Amazon rainforest of Peru, as it has been for thousands of years by the native Ashaninka and Chene people. The beans are of the renowned heritage heirloom ‘criollo’ variety, which make up less than 1% of cacao grown each year. The result is a decadent single-origin cacao powder that is ridiculously rich in flavour and fragrance, and with many health benefits.
Unlike traditionally processed cocoa, which is often extract with chemical solvents and heated to over 150°C, Bare Blends' Raw Cacao Powder is minimally processed at low temperatures, resulting in far superior nutritional qualities.
Other benefits of raw cacao include:
HAPPY CHEMICALSThe bliss chemicals anandamide and phenylethylamine are found in cacao. Cacao also boosts serotonin and the amino acid tryptophan, a serotonin precursor, to promote a positive outlook and make you naturally happy.
ANTI-AGINGRaw cacao has one of the highest antioxidant ratings measured and an array of biologically active flavanols, catechins and polyphenols. These beneficial compounds scavenge free radicals from the blood and reduce damage caused by ageing processes.
CARDIOVASCULAR PROTECTIONThe flavanols and compounds in raw cacao stimulate the arteries to relax, reducing blood pressure and allowing the body to oxidise low-density lipoprotein (LDL), as well as regulating cholesterol.
ENERGYThe theobromine found in raw cacao will give your energy levels a boost, with less of an impact on the human central nervous system than caffeine.
The health benefits to be gained from cacao are plenty and varied. It must be noted that you won't get the same effects from normal drinking cocoa, especially from the bliss chemical phenylethylamine, as it is extremely heat sensitive, and is lost in the processing of cocoa.
So how can you implement more of this amazing superfood into your diet? That's easy – we have some brilliant and decadent recipes ready for you to try. But first, your new staple item and king of the pantry – Organic Raw Cacao Powder is so easy and economical to purchase.
Our other suggestions for delicious cacao products? Try our Cacao WPI - delicious and satiating whey protein isolate with a creamy and light cacao flavour, or arguably the best raw chocolate blocks in the world made by our good friends at Chow Cacao. Available in many delicious flavours, such as Crunchy Mint, Peanut Butter Slab, and Raspberry & Rosepepper, Chow Cacao is fantastic as a brain-boosting snack, or a fabulous alternative to processed chocolate in all chocolatey recipes.
We love drinking hot cacao drinks in the colder weather, and in the warmer weather, an iced chocolate made with cacao and almond milk is the perfect drink to put a pep in your step. We stir cacao through porridge, and add it to our smoothies, raw treats, and desserts. Here are two of our favourite cacao recipes.
Raw Cacao Peanut BUtter Slice
This no-bake slice is perfect for the chocolate and peanut butter lovers out there! How could you not love a chocolatey base covered in a smooth and creamy peanut butter topping?
Super Creamy Chocolate Bomb
This bowl of goodness will satiate all of your chocolate cravings. Made with our Raw Cacoa Powder and our WPI blends, it's an antioxidant boost that will restore your energy levels in one delicious chocoaltely bomb!