The primary source of magnesium in nature is the raw cacao bean. Magnesium supports the heart, increases brain power, causes strong peristalsis in the gut, relaxes menstrual cramps, relaxes muscles, increases flexibility and helps build strong bones. Magnesium as a primary alkaline mineral opens up 300 different detoxification and elimination pathways.
Magnesium helps to increase the strength of the heart muscle and decreases blood coagulation. It also helps to lower blood pressure and helps the heart pump more effectively. It helps the brain to function with clarity, focus and attention and alleviates neurological disorders such as ADHD, poor memory, post-natal depression and Alzheimer’s.
Magnesium is also essential to the pituitary gland and helps to balance our hormone levels. It helps our muscles to relax and increases flexibility and strength. Chronic magnesium deficiency leads to excessive muscle tension, including spasms, twitches and restlessness.
Cacao is super rich in anti-oxidant flavonols, containing 10,000mg (10g) per 100g. That is 10% which makes cacao one of the richest sources of anti-oxidants of any food! Ten times more than blueberries. The addition of dairy-milk powder to chocolate specifically blocks the absorption of its anti-oxidants.
Cacao contains the stimulants theobromine and caffeine in small quantities, ranging from 1-2 % of the whole bean. These help to increase our energy levels.
Theobromine is a cardiac stimulant, which is one of the reasons why dogs should not eat cacao, as they do not have the enzyme that metabolises theobromine and are therefore at risk of heart-attack.
The Love Chemical
Phenylethylamine (PEA), known as the ‘love chemical’, is found in cacao and blue-green algae. PEA increases the production of dopamine which helps with mental concentration and a positive attitude. PEA also increases the effectiveness of another neuro-transmitter, noradrenalin, which increases feelings of joy. It is known as the ‘love chemical’ as when we fall in love our PEA levels increase and we feel happy and optimistic. The brain also releases PEA when we are sexually aroused and this can peak at orgasm.
In 1996 a neuro-scientist, Daniele Piomelli, isolated a neuro-transmitter called anandamide in chocolate. Anandamide is an endogenous cannabinoid naturally found in the brain and is known as the ‘bliss chemical’ because it is released when we are feeling great. Anandamide is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘ananda’ meaning bliss.
Cacao contains the essential amino-acid tryptophan that is critical in the production of serotonin, our primary neuro-transmitter. Once in the body tryptophan reacts with vitamins B6 and B3 in the presence of magnesium to produce serotonin. Serotonin helps to reduce anxiety and our ability to fend off stress. Tryptophan also helps to produce melatonin and dimethyltryptamine, both of which help to promote sleep.
Cacao is one of the best sources of arginine, an amino acid that increases blood flow to the genitals and enhances sexual desire.
Cacao also contains calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin (vitamin B2), phosphorous, niacin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), nicotinamide, pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and vitamins C and E.
Cocoa butter content varies between the plant species. The Forastero variety contains over 50% cocoa butter, as compared to Trinitario with 56%-58% and Criollo around 30%.
100g of an average cacao bean contains 456 calories, 12g protein, 43.3g fat, 34.7g carbohydrate and 8.6g fibre.
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