Health benefits of chocolate when it is in the form of raw cacao beans, butter, nibs and/or the powder include:
1. Weight loss (because of its high chromium and coumarin content),
2. Prevention of cavities (theobromine actually kills streptococci mutans one of the strains of bacteria that cause tooth decay)
3. Regulation of blood sugar which is beneficial for diabetes (chromium can naturally regulate blood sugar).
4. Benefits the heart and the entire cardiovascular system as a whole;balance blood pressure, lower high cholesterol, promote general health by reversing heart disease
5. Raw Cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. Magnesium relaxes muscles, improves peristalsis in the bowels and relaxes the heart and cardiovascular system.
6. Raw chocolate bars are known as a great remedy for many menstruation issues women can get.
7. Cacao is an aphrodisiac for both genders.
- All of the compounds found in raw cacao benefit longevity in humans.
Medical Research Done on Cacao Health Benefits
Dr Nolan Hollenberg, of Harvard Medical School, conducted a study on hereditary genes in order to discover a gene that protected against heart disease. His research led him to the Kuna Indian tribe of the San Blas Islands, off the coast of Panama.
In San Blas, Dr. Hollenberg found that the Kuna had extremely low mortality rates due to heart disease and diabetes. He also found that heart disease rates increased among Kuna natives who left the San Blas Islands for the mainland, meaning there was no protective gene in the Kuna.
Further research gave Dr. Hollenberg the reason for the increased cardiovascular health in the Kuna tribe. He found that a main staple of the Kuna diet was an average of 5 cups of homegrown cacao a day.
Inspired by the health of the Kuna tribe, researchers from the University of L’Aquila in Italy and Tufts University in Boston gathered seventeen people showing high blood pressure and early signs of type 2 Diabetes. The researchers conducted a study that was done in two phases. In the first phase, half of the subjects were given 6 grams of dark chocolate per day for a period of 2 weeks, while the other half were given the same amount of white chocolate. In the second phase, the roles were reversed with the first group being given white chocolate and the second given the dark chocolate.
The dark chocolate antioxidants have been clinically proven to literally dissolve plaque built up in the arteries which helps in reversing heart disease and causes naturally lower blood pressure. Also, various other vitamins and minerals in raw cacao benefits the cardiovascular system.
The results showed that in both groups, the white chocolate had no effect on high blood pressure, while dark chocolate significantly reduced the blood pressure of both groups. In addition, it was found that the level of insulin resistance in both groups was lowered with dark chocolate, meaning the subject’s bodies were able to better use the insulin in their bloodstreams. The results of these studies, as well as another one conducted under the leadership of Dr. Dirk Taubert at the University of Cologne, suggests that dark chocolate does lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Dark chocolate contains many biologically active components, such as catechins, procyanidins and theobromine from cocoa, together with added sucrose and lipids. All of these can directly or indirectly affect the cardiovascular system by multiple mechanisms. Intervention studies on healthy and metabolically-dysfunctional volunteers have suggested that cocoa improves blood pressure, platelet aggregation and endothelial function (The endothelium is a thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels. Endothelial cells release substances that control vascular relaxation and contraction as well as enzymes that control blood clotting, immune function and platelet).
Dr. Gabriel Cousens conducted a study on the health benefits of chocolate in February of 2008.
What he discovered was that raw cacao benefits diabetics as a safe food since it raises blood sugar less than almost any other food, despite its theobromine content!
It even raises insulin sensitivity!
Another interesting fact discovered was that it’s not toxic to the liver (many people are falsely claiming the contrary), except when combined in large amounts with sweeteners high in fructose such as agave.
This is basically the only well known clinical study done specifically on how raw cacao benefits human health.
Raw Cacao and Longevity
Out of all the whole foods that contain antioxidants, raw chocolate is the highest in the world. There are certain herbs and spices, such as the chaga mushroom and cinnamon, which have higher levels of antioxidants in them but generally you won’t be consuming enough volume of them to get as much antioxidant value from them as you would from a normal dose of raw cacao.
As was officially documented, the world’s oldest human was Jeanne Louise Calment of France. She lived to be 122 and many say that one of her secrets to longevity was her consumption of 2.5 pounds of bitter dark chocolate a week.
The third “official” oldest person ever to have lived was Sarah Knauss, who also regularly enjoyed the health benefits of chocolate, but in smaller quantities as Jeanne!
Raw Cacao is filled with nutritious compounds that benefit longevity:
Vitamin A, Vitamin B (1, 2, 3, 5 and 6), Vitamin C, Vitamin E
Magnesium, Copper, Calcium, Manganese, Zinc, Sulfur, Iron, Chromium, Phosphorus
Omega 6 Fatty Acids, Saturated Fats, Amino Acids, Carbohydrates, Soluble Fiber (which is the type people need more of)
Enzymes and other antioxidants
It turns out that all the bad things commonly attributed to non-raw chocolate bars, such as cavities, weight gain and diabetes, are actually caused by the dairy, sugar and other fillers added to the dark chocolate.