What are the dangers of raw cacao on health? Is it Ok to drink cacao every day? Does raw cacao keep you awake? What are the nutrients in raw cacao? Difference between Cacao and Cocoa? What are the other side effects of raw cacao? And what are the properties and benefits of raw cacao for our body?
I- What are the Dangers of Raw Cacao on Health
We are not unaware of the numerous benefits of cacao on the health and well-being of its consumers. But, like a coin, cacao has, in addition to its benefits, some restrictions.
What are they and what do they cause?
Indeed, it was discovered, due to the studies of a team of the laboratory Geosciences environment of Toulouse that the cacao coming from Ecuador is dangerous for the health.
Ecuador being one of the first cacao producing countries, would put on the market a variety of cacao (the fino de aroma variety) excessively rich in cadmium.
Cadmium is a heavy metal, harmful to human health. Cadmium can be responsible for serious health problems, irreversible and dreadful disorders up to cancer.
The things, taken in this way and under this angle prove indeed that the regular and not controlled consumption of a certain variety of fresh cacao could be very dangerous for the man.
This is a statement that worries both cacao lovers and chocolate enthusiasts.
Well! Salmonella (pre-bacteria) sometimes present during the consumption of fresh cacao could also cause dangerous symptoms (fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea …) The statement is therefore real.
This news frightens the big consumers of chocolate who start to fall into despair. Because if cacao is dangerous, it is clear that chocolate, made from the processing of cacao, also has drawbacks.
However, it is possible to overcome this danger of raw cacao. Because on the one hand, the risky variety is now rare on the market.
On the other hand, consuming fresh cacao and its derivatives in normal doses provides more benefits than harms. So, it is the excess that is dangerous.
# Cacao Cancer Warning
As we have just seen above, cadmium is a very heavy metal. And some varieties of cacao can contain quite a lot of it, which can endanger the health of the consumer.
Studies have suggested that eating foods rich in cadmium may increase the risk of developing cancer.
For heavy consumers of chocolate rich in cadmium, the risk of contracting cancer is, therefore, more significant.
This metal accumulates over time in the body and can be a danger, especially for the kidneys, which can no longer filter it, but also for the other organs.
It is important to know that our body needs at least 20 to 40 years of internal cleaning to get rid of this heavy metal.
So imagine if we added another amount of cadmium each time, which it will never be able to get rid of.
This is why chocolate and cacao lovers are advised to check each time the origin of their product to make sure that it does not contain such dangerous metals for health.
# Does Raw Cacao Keep You Awake?
It is important to know that cacao contains quite a lot of caffeine and theobromine which are great stimulants of human metabolism.
So it is quite normal that consuming raw cacao or transforming it into chocolate before going to bed can influence the quality of sleep.
Consuming cacao before going to sleep can eventually cause insomnia, heartburn, stress and can even cause an accelerated heart rate.
And sometimes it can even give bad nightmares if consumed before sleeping.
# Is it Ok to Drink Cacao Every Day?
Normally there is no contraindication to drink cacao daily, especially if it is of good quality.
But the human organism needs diversity in order not to get tired. It is a simple way for him to protect himself against the different deficiencies.
The diversity of natural foods that he is fond of ensures that he has all the nutrients he needs.
We advise you to stop drinking cacao a few days a month to renew the desire to drink it.
# Other Side Effects of Raw Cacao
As has been well stated, cacao contains caffeine and theobromine, which sometimes causes anxiety and a racing heart.
Raw cacao does not contain much sugar, but it can, when consumed in large quantities, upset blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for diabetics.
It can also contribute to clotting disorders, which makes it not recommended for people with blood clotting problems.
Other side effects are also to be lamented like:
- high blood pressure
Remember that some people can be allergic to cacao, which is actually a very rare thing.
Note also that there is a risk of drug interactions. It is advisable to ask your doctor for advice to know if one of the medications you are taking is contraindicated for cacao consumption.
II- Nutrients and Composition of Raw Cacao
The good news for cacao lovers is that it is an element that benefits all, if not every function of the body. Consumed fresh, cacao is very rich in chromium and magnesium (magnesium on the other hand is the most deficient mineral in humans in general).
All the elements contained in cacao benefit not only the well-being of its consumers but also their longevity. Cacao is composed of:
- Vitamins A, C and E
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6
- Omega 6 fat
- Amino Acid
- Saturated fats
- soluble fiber and
- several other phyto-elements all equally beneficial to humans.
The cape represents such a contribution in nutrients that it would be very disadvantageous to do without it. When you think about it, the above-mentioned minerals are involved in the prevention of different diseases such as arrhythmia, high blood pressure, cardiovascular accidents, type 2 diabetes, and angina.
III- Does Raw Cacao Have Health Benefits?
Raw cacao, consumed in a normal dose acts on the body as an anti-fatigue. Indeed, cacao is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and theobromine.
These elements ensure the good functioning of the body (an improvement of the blood flow, muscular relaxation, better digestion, and better stimulation of the central nervous system).
Cacao also contains another element, also very enriching called Salsolinol. This element acts as a stimulant for the production of dopamine.
Thus, the consumption of raw cacao gives you vitality, well-being, and pleasure.
2. Good Mood
Cacao promotes a good mood. Indeed, because the components of cacao such as sasolinol, theobromine, and soluble fibers are catalysts of a feeling of well-being, the consumption of cacao keeps you happy.
In addition, there are neuroactive chemicals in cacao that are directly associated with pleasure. These are tetrahydro-beta-carbolines. Thus, raw cacao is ultimately a food of joy.
It is easy to understand why chocolate is consumed with a happy face and a smile that announces well-being.
More than 300 different studies have been carried out on cacao and each one reveals the numerous benefits of cacao on the consumer’s body.
Among these benefits, there is the tonus and sexual vigor that cacao promotes. Cacao not only stimulates the desire by exciting the consumer, but it also ensures vigor, vitality, and tone.
Because cacao knows how to act progressively for the greatest pleasure of its consumers, it would be necessary to consume between 400 mg and 1200 mg of cacao per day, that is to say, 1 to 3 tablespoons of cacao powder to benefit from each of its advantages.
Be careful! Chocolate certainly contains cacao and has almost the same benefits, but it is often rich in sugar and could delay the effects compared to raw cacao, raw chocolate, and cacao powder.
4. Hair Beauty
If you’ve ever heard that cacao is a good cosmetic ally, well, know that the information is correct. Cacao is used in hair care to fight dandruff, hair loss, and scalp irritation.
So, combining cacao (cacao powder or cacao butter) with your hair care products brings life, shine, and brilliance back to your hair.
5. Cardiovascular Diseases
Regular and controlled consumption of cacao helps prevent cardiovascular diseases. The BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL published evidence in 2011 in their review that proves the potential benefits of chocolate.
This review explained that regular consumption of chocolate could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by over 30%.
6. Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium and potassium are minerals that are deficient in most of the population. Fortunately, cacao has a generous supply of magnesium, which allows its consumers to effectively counteract this deficiency.
Magnesium promotes the normal functioning of muscles and nerves. It ensures the good health of bones and teeth.
Since it is rich in antioxidants, cacao catalyzes good digestion. By eating, stimulates the production of bile by the liver and protects its consumers from digestive disorders.
It prevents liver diseases and ensures a good digestive transit.
8. General Improvement of Health
In general, cacao does not only act on a specific functioning of the body. If it is nicknamed “food of the gods” it is because it is full of benefits and operates positively in every respect. Opt for cacao now and your body will be very grateful.
IV- Difference Between Cacao and Cocoa
There is not a big difference between cocoa powder and cacao powder.
Even brands often use these two names without really giving too much importance to the original product.
Both powders are the result of the fermentation of the cocoa tree’s beans.
Here are the few differences that exist between these two powders:
Cacao powder is first of all unroasted and is processed at a low temperature.
Whereas cocoa powder is always roasted and processed at a very high temperature.
This results in a cacao powder that is very rich in nutrients but with a bitter taste. While the cocoa powder is less rich in nutrients but with a milder taste.
Note that manufacturers add sugar and dairy products to cocoa powder while cacao powder remains natural.
V- Is Raw Cacao Toxic?
The answer is simply no. We have seen above that when cacao powder is not of dubious origin (does not contain a large amount of cadmium), it is safe for metabolism.
Another safety condition is its moderate consumption and not overdosing which can induce nausea and other health problems.
VI- The Safe Dosage for Raw Cacao
As all good things must come to an end, cacao powder does not escape the rule despite its multiple benefits for the health of our body.
And as the metabolism is different from one person to another, it is really difficult to set a universal limit for all people.
Because consuming 10 grams of cacao powder for one person could have quite serious side effects, while 50 grams will do nothing for another person.
But manufacturers and sellers of cacao generally advise a daily consumption of 5 to 10 grams.
It should also be noted that some scientific studies suggest that consuming more than 50 grams of cacao powder per day can induce adverse effects that differ in severity from one person to another.