Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Cacao, cocoa, or raw chocolate, is the second SUPERFOOD in the list. What? Chocolate is healthy? Really? Yes, and no. Cacao is healthy in its raw form, and I will list all the properties it has in just a minute, but the commercial chocolate we can buy at the normal grocery store is not healthy, in fact is very unhealthy, for many reasons.

First of all, commercial chocolate is just a reflection of chocolate, since most of those products at the store only have a very low percentage of cacao on the higher the percentage, the less unhealthy the product is. Second, the way they prepare commercial chocolate kills the majority of the properties of cacao. They follow a roasted, boiled, heated, process that eliminates almost all the good properties of cacao. Third, all those products, come with their share of unhealthy additives, preservatives, and empty calorie ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, and many other "bad stuff". So if you ever had any hopes that I was gonna tell you that your usual chocolate candy bar you have everytime you visit your favorite insurance agent (inside joke), or everytime you wait for your car to get washed, or anytime you open your pantry and think nobody is watching...then you're gonna have to wake up from your dreams, cause they are NOT healthy!

However, raw cacao is a whole different story, and I'm gonna tell you why. One of the most astonishing facts about cacao is the incomparable capacity it has to neutralize free radicals. You've heard of the importance of antioxidants, right? How they fight aging, and how they prevent heart disease as well as other diseases? Well, there is nothing on this Earth that has more antioxidants than raw cacao. The ORAC value, which is the number given to measure the antioxidant capacity of a food (Oxigen Radical Absorption Capacity), and which units are umoleTE/g, goes something like this:
Blackberry and wild blueberry (which are among the highest in antioxidant properties): Between 50 to 60 umoleTE/g.
Goji Berries: 133 umoleTE/g
Bee Pollen: 287 umoleTE/g
Acai Powder: 536 umoleTE/g
Cacao Nibs: 621 umoleTE/g
Cacao Powder: 955 umoleTE/g

Can you believe that? Cacao is more than 19 times better in antioxidant properties than the highest antioxidant food that is common for regular people which is blackberry (however almost nobody eats blackberry all the time).
Other sources of antioxidants are: Banana 5, kiwi 9, Red Grape 11, Peach 13, Apple 14, Orange 24, Strawberry 26, Plum 28. As you see, even though these foods are really good to take, they can't match cacao in antioxidant properties. But this is just one of the properties of cacao. Let's continue with the next ones...

For your information, cacao is the seed or nut of a fruit of an indigenous American jungle tree. It was so important for the Mayan and Aztec Civilizations that instead of gold they used cacao beans as money, it was their coin! Sometimes the Emperor's warehouse could hold up to 960,000,000 cacao beans! and that's why he was considered the richest and most powerful person of all! I could go on and on about different stories and history of why cacao was so important, but you get the point, don't you?
So let's move on with the actual nutritional properties of cacao, starting with a quote from Ian A. Macdonald from the University of Nottingham Medical School:

"This raises the possibility that certain food components like cocoa flavonols may be beneficial in increasing brain blood flow and enhancing brain function among older adults or for others in situations where they may be cognitively impaired, such as fatigue or sleep deprivation"

Well, as I mention before, cacao has the highest concentration of antioxidants of all foods. This only is a really good reason for consuming it if you are planning on being around on this Earth for a long time...other reasons are:

Magnesium: Cacao is the number one source of magnesium, which is one of the most important alkaline minerals on our body. It supports the heart, increases brainpower, good bowel movements, relaxes menstrual cramping, relaxes muscles, increases flexibility, helps build strong bones, and raises your pH in your body. When you have enough magnesium, veins and arteries lessens resistance and relax, improving the flow of oxygen and nutrients through the body. This mineral is the most deficient major mineral in the US with about 80 % North American being chronically deficient.

Iron: 1 ounce of cacao has 314% of the US RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of Iron. Iron is part of the oxygen-carrying protein called hemoglobin that keeps our blood healthy and prevents anemia.

Chromium: Again, about 80% of Americans are deficient on this mineral, and cacao is one of the best sources of it.

Manganese: This is an essential mineral that helps assist iron in the oxygenation of the blood and formation of hemoglobin.

Zinc: Another essential mineral cacao is a good source of. It's critical for a good immune system, and healthy liver, pancreas, sexual fluids, and skin. It is involved in thousands of enzymatic reactions.

Copper: Another essential trace mineral cacao is a great source of.

Vitamin C: 1 ounce of cacao aprox. supplies with 21% of the US RDA of Vitamin C. Of course it has to be raw!

Omega-6 fatty acids: This is one of the properties that when cooked, they become rancid (trans fats) and can cause inflammatory reactions when eaten.

Phenylethylamine (PEA): PEAs are a major class of chemical produce in our bodies when we "fall in love", and this might be the reason why we can feel so good after having cacao. This chemical is important in increasing focus and alertness.

Anandamide: This is a type of endorphin naturally produced by the body after exercising and it is only found in cacao. Also cacao contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease the speed of our bodies to breakdown this endorphin making us feel good longer.

Tryptophan: This essential amino acid is crucial for the production of serotonin, our principal neurotransmitter.

Fiber: Cacao is a great source of soluble fiber, a kind that is perfect for the cleaning of the intestines and bulk up the bowel movements.

Methylxanthines (Caffeine and Theobromine): Contrary to popular opinion, cacao has almost no caffeine at all. A bean of cacao can range from zero to 1000 parts per million of caffeine, less than 1/20th of that of coffee. As for Theobromine, which is a phenomenal antibacterial substance that kills streptococci mutants (primary organisms that cause cavities). This is not a nervous system stimulant even though it is chemically relative of caffeine. It, however, dilates the cardiovascular system, making the heart's job easier.

Well, as you can see, cacao should be an important part of our diets if we want to maximize our antioxidant intake and live longer, and also if we wanna enjoy all the amazing properties it has. The best plus, is that you can make really yummy food with cacao!

Thanks again for the information contained in the book "SUPERFOODS" from David Wolfe.


  1. This is the best post you've written so far, very educational I enjoyed it so much thanks!

  2. Ok where do we buy raw cacao and how do you eat/use it?

  3. Love your post ~ it's really fabulous ~ just a word of warning though ~ that MANY many people react to cacao in the same way they do to coffee (myself included) and that David Wolfe receives monetary gain from passing on the information...

    Just throwing that out there because you SO clearly have it in your heart to share the good stuff with others.

    Don't forget that when it comes to some foods... just because they come from the ground, does not mean they are "wholesome"... there is a reason you must mask cacao's intense flavor with sweetener.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here! :)

  4. Hey Eva, thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it, and I like having some insight on my posts! There are a few comments and questions about your comment though:

    What do you mean by that many people react to cacao in the same way they do to coffee? You mean stimulation?

    Also, on David Wolfe receiving monetary gain from different products is a normal thing if you wanna make healthy nutrition your career...however from all I've read and watch about him, he always encourages people to plant their own gardens with this superfoods and teaches the best way to do it so that you don't have to buy it from the store, and there is no monetary gain for him in this. I believe he means the best and doesn't act solely by money.

    Also, I understand not all the foods or stuff that is in the ground is wholesome, but why would a food have so many good properties if it wasn't meant to eat? that's my opinion...however, raw cacao is not the same as hot chocolate as you already know...but many people, including me, like the bitter taste of chocolate.

    Also other foods I believe they are not tasty at all, but they are good for you.

    What do you think about it?

  5. Erin, you can buy raw cacao at any health food store or online. It has to be raw though, and you cannot cook it, otherwise the majority of the properties vanish, plus some adverse effects occur as well.

    So how to use it? Well, you can put it in healthy shakes like the ones Janeen has on her blog (, or you can search for recipes of things with raw chocolate on them. When we go to CA I'll show you a few things about this...