Cacao – What’s not to love?

ūüφ ¬†– I have lately been craving Chocolate again. ¬†Anything with chocolate. Oh boy, I tell you, right now I would dip EVERYTHING in chocolate and devour it! Lucky or unlucky for me, all I have is Cacao Powder. I usually keep some of Amy’s Chocolate Cake in the freezer for days like this. In my opinion, it’s a must-have, but now I don’t-have:) I like it so much I cut a slice and eat it frozen! Grrr, I really have no intention on eating the Cacao Powder as is, so I’m gonna have to just settle for nothing or come up with something…. Thought I would share some info I came across about the Nutritional benefits of this sexy and much desired Nut. Indeed, it is truly a Nut and not a bean!

Nutritional Value

Cacao powder contains several minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. All of these minerals are found in greater quantities in cacao powder than either cocoa butter or cocoa liquor.(1) Cacao solids also contain 230 mg of caffeine and 2057 mg of theobromine per 100g, which are mostly absent from the other components of the cacao bean.(2)

Flavonoids

Cacao powder is rich in flavonoids, a type of phenolic. The amount of flavonoids depends on the amount of processing and manufacturing the cocoa powder undergoes, but cocoa powder can contain up to 10% its weight in flavonoids.(1) Flavanols are one of six compounds further classified as flavonoids. Flavanols, which are also found in fruits and vegetables, are linked to certain health benefits linked to coronary heart disease and stroke. The topic of how flavanols benefit cardiovascular health is still under debate. It has been suggested that the flavanols may take part in mechanisms such as nitric oxide and antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiplatelet effects.(3) Benefiting these mechanisms may improve endothelial function, lipid levels, blood pressure and insulin resistance.(3)

References

1. ¬†a b¬†Steinberg, F.M.; Bearden, M.M., Keen, C.L. (February 2003). Cacoa and Chocolate Flavonoids: Implications for Cardiovascular Health¬†103. pp. 215‚Äď223.

2. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, (2011)

3. a b¬†Corti, R.; Flammer, A.J., Hollenberg, N.K. (2009).¬†Cacoa and¬†Cardiovascular Health.¬†Circulation. Contemporary Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine¬†119: 1433‚Äď1441.¬†DOI:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.827022. Retrieved November 9, 2011.

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