…Chocolate in the form of raw cacao powder that is. Raw cacao, consumed for hundreds of years in many tropical regions of the world for its stamina-enhancing properties, is a powerhouse of cancer-healing substances. What’s more, there are literally hundreds of recipes that utilize it—in everything from puddings to hot chocolates to healthy “candies.” Satisfying your chocolate craving and staying health is absolutely possible with cacao!
Meet the Kunas: The Benefits of Regular Cacao Consumption
In 2005, the health benefits of raw cacao were raised by researchers at Harvard Medical School, after they published their findings on the Kuna Indians and their consumption of cacao. The Kunas live off the Caribbean coast and have some of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world. Researchers who visited them saw that the majority of residents in the Kuna region were poor, lived in substandard conditions and did not have access to modern medical care. The researchers concluded that the stellar health that the Kunas enjoyed despite their circumstances had to come from the fact that they consumed 4 to 5 cups of cacao per day in the form of a rich, chocolatey drink!
Why Cacao is Such a Nutritional Powerhouse
One of the most important substances for health within cacao are flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidants that destroy the free radicals which can attack your body. Free radicals come mainly from environmental toxins and can lead to DNA damage and ultimately, cancer.
Consumption of cacao can lead directly to reduced cancer risk as well. A study at Lombardi Cancer Center in Georgetown (USA) found that certain proteins in cacao were able to reduce the amount of breast cancer-causing proteins found in the body. A 2008 study published in the journal Cell Cycle also discovered that colon, cervical, lung and leukemia (blood-based) cancer cell growth were affected by the antioxidant load in cacao. Surprisingly, cancer growth was minimized by a relatively low level of antioxidants, similar to the amounts found in cacao.
Here are some more reasons why cacao really is a cancer-preventative substance:
- Cacao contains procynanidins and epicatechins, polyphenols that are also in red wine and berries;
- Cacao is a source of monounsaturated fat needed for digestive health, immune system function and metabolic function (olive oil is another great source of this kind of fat). Monounsaturated fats have been proven to protect against breast cancer;
- Cacao also helps the heart. The healthy fats found in cacao can help maintain cardiovascular health. In addition, the flavanols in cacao can decrease LDL (i.e. bad) cholesterol levels and lower high blood pressure.
Cacao Helps the Endocannabinoid System
Interestingly, cacao contains anandamide, a fatty acid neurotransmitter that can elevate moods. Anandamide is also found in the cannabis plant and can help balance the endocannabinoid system. It is often called the “bliss molecule.”
A study highlighted by the Mayo Clinic found that daily consumption of cacao led to improved cognitive abilities as well as an improvement in the condition of adults who suffered from “mild cognitive impairment.” In other studies, cacao was shown to increase blood flow to the brain.
Do you need an excuse to eat more chocolate? Well, there you have it! Just make sure that it is raw cacao that has been organically processed—powdered form is most versatile for recipes but it can also be purchased in chunks at your local health food store.
Here is one recipe that I absolutely love. It really satisfies when the chocolate craving hits—or whenever I need an energy lift!
Have a chocolate craving? Try this yummy recipe that has all the nutritional goodness of raw cacao, the protein of soaked nuts and a taste that is truly satisfying!
Raw Nutty Chocolate Balls
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup raw cacao powder
- 4 TBSP Chia seeds
- 1 cup shredded, dried coconut
- 2/3 cup melted coconut oil
- Vanilla stevia or regular stevia to taste
Soak the nuts overnight. The next day, pulse or chop the nuts. Mix in the cacao powder, stevia to taste, chia seeds, and shredded, dried coconut. Drizzle in the melted coconut oil. Roll into uniform balls, place on a plate and set in the refrigerator or freezer for one hour.
Makes approximately 50 large balls.
Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, better known as Dr. V, is the founder of the 7 Essentials System ™, a step-by-step guide that teaches you exactly how to prevent and heal Breast Cancer Naturally. To get your F.R.E.E. 7 day mini e-course, and to receive her weekly action steps and inspiring articles on the power of Natural Medicine, visit http://breastcancerconqueror.com/