There are various remedies that have been presented in order to overcome this challenge. But it is not always possible for one to give up their favorite foods like chocolates and cakes in order to become healthy. Well, there is good news for chocolate lovers and those who love cacao. Because according to research, cacao can help you reduce your weight when consumed in proper amounts.
Cacao is a famous super food which is rich in nutrients and offers many benefits together with a few side effects as well. Cacao beans have been used for ages because of their nutritional value and benefits.
Nutrients in Cacao
Unsweetened chocolate or raw cacao can offer us various health benefits such as:
- The flavonoids present in cacao can reduce toxins present in the body and improve your hearts health.
- Cacao beans contain around 50 percent fat. This fat consists of oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. These fats do not raise blood cholesterol level as long as you consume low fat variety cacao.
- The carbohydrates found in cacao are soluble dietary fibers and they keep us feeling full for longer time periods.
- Some other nutrients found in cocoa are stimulants like theobromine, caffeine, phenylethylamine, serotonin, pantothenic acid, and essential vitamins such as A, B1, E, C, B2, and B3.
- Other important minerals like the magnesium, calcium, sulfur, zinc, manganese, potassium, and copper are also present in cacao.
It is a bit difficult to comprehend that chocolate with all the carbohydrates, starches, and milk can help you reduce weight. But, it is true for raw cacao and byproducts of cacao i.e. cacao nibs and cacao powder. Two research studies have indicated that increased consumption of chocolate or cacao can lead to reduction of weight among adolescents as well as adults.
Moreover, pure cacao contains specified chemicals that can increase the levels of serotonin in the body. This can lead the brain to think that it is fully satiated and suppresses the hunger. The action of Monoamine Oxidase Enzyme and an amino acid Tryptophan inhibitors helps raise serotonin levels.
They reduce the body’s ability to break down serotonin and as more of it remains in the blood, the more you feel satiated. Cacao is famous for having the negative calorie value because body does not take much energy to oxidize it. Raw cacao does not contain any sugar and hydrogenated oils that are commonly found in the processed chocolates.
- If eaten in excess, cacao beans can cause some side effects.
- It can cause allergies, if you are allergic to ingredients like polyphenols.
- Caffeine can trigger different reactions in pregnant women specifically the ones undergoing depression, diabetes, or hypertension.
- It can also increase anxiety levels and cause nausea, migraines, and gastric problems.
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Cuenca-García, M., Ruiz, J. R., Ortega, F. B., Castillo, M. J., & HELENA Study Group. (2014). Association between chocolate consumption and fatness in European adolescents. Nutrition, 30(2), 236-239.
Golomb, B. A., Koperski, S., & White, H. L. (2012). Association between more frequent chocolate consumption and lower body mass index. Archives of internal medicine, 172(6), 519-521.
Hannum, S. M., & Erdman Jr, J. W. (2000). Emerging health benefits from cocoa and chocolate. Journal of Medicinal Food, 3(2), 73-75.