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Superfood of the Gods Essay

Updated August 8, 2022

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Superfood of the Gods Essay essay

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The best accessories for everyone are radiant skin and a (genuine) smile, because nothing is more attractive than showing the world that you are healthy and happy — and yes, it shows! Getting consistent exercise, sleeping enough, and eating nutritious foods are the first steps towards health and happiness, and it only takes one’s own self-control and power to make the right lifestyle choices to achieve that.

Thankfully, Mother Earth provides us with “superfoods” that help take our bodies above-and-beyond. There are so many superfoods, all with their own affects and benefits, but let’s be real and focus on the one superfood that tops them all.

Cacao is a superfood that is jam-packed with polyphenols, lipids, flavonoids, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and has exceedingly more antioxidants than tea, wine, blueberries, goji berries, and kale. Raw cacao contains over 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries!

Archaeologists date the use of cacao all the way back to 1900-1500 BC, when the Aztecs consumed it as a frothy beverage and even used cacao seeds as currency. Cacao originally grew along Amazon River basins of South America, and is still grown in abundance from the tropical Theobroma Cacao trees found deep in those rainforests. Theobroma actually translates to “food of the gods”, and the ancient Aztecs only allowed the elite to enjoy the luxurious treat.

It wasn’t until 1657 AD when the first shop in London served cacao as a drink, and 25 years after, it was finally used in the preparation of food. Still, cacao was expensive and consumed mainly by the upper-class. Lucky for us, virtually anyone across all civilizations has the ability to reap its benefits now!

Cocoa simply refers to cacao’s roasted form. The tastiest way to cook cacao is through “Dutch processing”, which reduces the bitterness, makes it less acidic, and brings out the richness in flavor. Even though Dutch processing can remove 60-90% of the antioxidants from raw cacao, it can still retain enough antioxidants and flavanols to benefit your skin, blood pressure, and your mood, so it’s still a delicious, guilt-free ingredient if you opt for one without any added sugars or oils.

Cacao-supplemented diets have been proven to benefit our health in extraordinary ways with an emphasis on the skin. It can heal your wounds faster, protect your organs (skin being the largest organ!), strengthen your bones, improve your memory, and make you feel more euphoric too.

When we consume cacao orally, it absorbs into our bodies and begins to interact with our blood, skin cells, and nerves, which influences skin structure development and other biological functions.

Too much sun exposure will break down collagen fibers and reduce the production of procollagen in the skin, leading to wrinkles, as well as promote the growth of skin cancer; however, cacao is a potent superfood that has the power to fight against the aging effects caused by the sun and other harmful environmental factors. Cacao in extract or powder form is easily digestible and is absorbed into the bloodstream, which then interacts with skin cells deep in the dermal layers. As shown in numerous clinical studies in human skin and in animals, consuming cacao powder can alter a total of 788 different genes to work more efficiently and help protect the skin from forming wrinkles and dark spots caused by sun damage. The studies also prove that cell viability increases dramatically after continued ingestion of cacao powder.

Increased collagen and the anti-wrinkle effect: Lab testing to investigate the anti-wrinkling effects of cacao powder have proven that cacao has “signature molecules” that actually target symptoms of aging, such as wrinkles, caused by UV radiation. Scientific data published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology show that cacao can regulate skin health at the genetic level and significantly reduce the formation of wrinkles caused by UV rays. From the studies conducted in mice, those that consumed cacao powder over a three-week period had higher levels of collagen in their skin after being exposed to UV light than those in a control group.

Prevent the growth of skin cancer: Cacao helps reduce the risk of skin cancer by about 25%. The antioxidants it contains scavenge upon free radicals, particularly in the skin, that may lead to diseases including cancer.

Reduces inflammation: Cacao consumption can manage inflammation and help reduce skin redness from dilated capillaries. It is packed with Magnesium, which is key for anti-inflammation and wound repair from a cellular level. Overall, cacao is so rich in antioxidants that consuming it regularly can prevent inflammation of the organs and blood vessels.

Improves hydration and elasticity: Long-term consumption of cacao can also improve skin conditions by increasing blood flow and circulation within all of the dermal layers, which is reflected by more skin density and hydration. Cacao also improves the efficiency of specific genes that help maintain skin moisture and flexibility.

Highest plant-based iron-source: Add iron to your diet by consuming raw cacao, and prevent possible symptoms of anemia. However, to get the maximum benefits or to ensure better absorption of any plant-based iron, combine it with some vitamin C.

More Calcium than cow’s milk: Raw cacao provides 160mg of Calcium per 100g vs. 125mg per 100ml (or 0.4 cups) of milk — a non-dairy way to build stronger bones!

Natural anti-depressant: Consuming raw cacao can stimulate the brain to release certain neurotransmitters, including euphoria, for a mood-booster. One neurotransmitter that is released is an adrenal-related chemical that our brains natural produce when we get excited, which increases our focus and overall awareness. The other neurotransmitter is anandamide, which is also coined as “the bliss molecule”.

Improves cognition: The potent antioxidants in raw cacao have the ability to prevent brain injury and neuro-inflammation, as well as increase long-term memory. It also induces new nerve cell growth and increases blood flow to your brain. A cacao-enriched diet is typically suggested for those who have dementia, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.

Healthier hair growth: The anti-inflammation properties of cacao influences hair health and growth directly at the roots, so consuming cacao regularly can result in healthier and faster growing hair.

Promote better dental hygiene: Unsweetened raw cacao contains blockers of the enzyme that is responsible for plaque formation on your teeth. It also can inhibit microbial growth that can cause decay in the teeth and gums. People have even been able to cure gum infections and gum disease by consuming cacao regularly.

Lower cholesterol: A clinical trial showed that consuming 100g of raw cacao daily decreased total serum cholesterol by 7% and LDL by 12% after a two-week period. Cacao also alters specific genes that help to inhibit obesity.

Regulates the bowels: This high-fiber superfood is an effective way to promote regular bowel movements. In a clinical study, those who were given cacao powder orally twice per day over a two four-week periods, divided by one three-week period, decreased constipation and increased bowel movement frequency during the time that they were consuming the cacao.

Heart health: A study published in Contemporary Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine showed that the consumption of cacao reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, and improves blood pressure, insulin levels, and vascular and platelet function.

Natural aphrodisiac: Cacao contains two chemicals that are released in the brain: one is the building block of serotonin, which is involved in sexual arousal, and the other is a stimulant that gets released when people fall in love.

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