Known as the “Food of the Gods”, the ancient Mayans can be thanked for their discovery and cultivation of cacao tree, from which cacao powder (also referred to as cocoa powder) and chocolate are made. In fact, Cacao was considered so nutritious that Mayan kings drank up to 30 cups a day to maintain their vigor and virility.
The health benefits of cacao are enormous. Recent studies have shown that cacao improves brain function, is a natural mood booster and improves blood flow – all very important for the bedroom. Cacao even provides the brain with phenylethylanime, which is that chemical that makes you “feel like you’re in love”.
However, the Cacao powder typically available in the supermarket isn’t this rich nutrient cacao we are talking about. For real health benefits of Cacao powder, it needs to be raw – It’s still very easy to find in your local health food store.
Importance of Raw Cacao Powder
Most cacao powder, also known as coco powder is “Dutch processed” which means temperatures up to 150c are used to extract the coco, and in the process destroys much of the nutritional benefit of the coco. Most of the dark chocolate (and cacao) available today is so highly processed that the most of the nutrient and antioxidant strength has been lost leaving only excess sugar and fat.
This is why it is important to only purchase raw cacao. Raw cacao can be easily found in many health food stores as well as organic varieties. Avoid labels which read “roasted” chocolate or cacao, as high heat has stripped these beans of much of their nutritional value.
When choosing Cacao, try and find raw and unprocessed cacao beans. If this is not possible the next best choice is organic unroasted cocoa powder (not treat with alkalis). The key to the nutritional benefits of cacao is in its unrefined form.