Cacao Benefits: Top 10 Benefits of Cacao Powder
The cacao bean has been prized since ancient times for its delicious flavour and remarkable health benefits. Made from gently roasted cocoa beans, cacao powder is the purest, most natural form of chocolate.
Aduna Super-Cacao Powder is made from specially-selected, high-flavanol cacao beans blended with luxuriously rich cacao from small-scale producers in Ghana.
It is exceptionally rich in cocoa flavanols - a plant-based antioxidant which studies have shown support a wide range of health benefits from reducing tiredness and fatigue to improving heart health, cognitive function and regulating blood pressure.
As well as being high in flavanols, cacao powder is also a natural source of:
- fibre, supporting a healthy gut
- protein, required to maintain and grow muscle mass
- potassium, important for muscular and neurological function
- magnesium, essential for energy metabolism and healthy psychological function, bones and teeth
- natural compounds known to reduce anxiety and lift our moods
- antioxidants, supporting radiant, younger looking skin
In this article we explore the powerful health and beauty benefits of Cacao Powder.
The top health & beauty benefits of Cacao Powder
1. HEART HEALTH
Our hearts and particularly our blood flow aren't always the first things on our minds when it comes to our overall health. This seems like an oversight when you consider that healthy blood flow is crucial to the successful function of all our organs and bodily processes.
The circulatory system is responsible for transporting nutrients, water and oxygen to every cell in the body through a complex network of blood vessels, arteries and capillaries that would be 60,000 miles long if laid out flat!
Healthy blood flow is needed for the heart, brain, skin, eyes, liver, immune system, digestive system and more to work properly. It’s even important for our exercise performance and recovery.
With all this in mind, it’s not surprising that heart related illnesses are the number 1 cause of death globally according to The World Health Organisation.
20g of Aduna Super-Cacao contains at least 200mg of cacao flavanols, which has been scientifically proven and verified by EFSA to help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, supporting healthy blood flow. Cacao flavanols contribute to:
- Cardiovascular health
- Elasticity of arteries
- Healthy blood circulation
2. REDUCTION OF TIREDNESS & FATIGUE
A study by Oxford Brookes Centre for Nutrition and Health has revealed that the high flavanol content of Aduna Super-Cacao could help reduce fatigue in sufferers of multiple sclerosis (MS). Over 100,000 people in the UK are affected by MS and nine out of 10 patients suffer from tiredness.
Researchers tested the use of flavanol rich cacao on 40 adult patients, who drank a cup of hot chocolate every day for six weeks. Participants were either given a flavanol-rich hot chocolate made with Aduna Super-Cacao Powder or a low-flavanol version.
Those given the high flavanol Aduna Super-Cacao drink experienced a 45% improvement in alertness and an 80% boost in walking speed according to tests. While more studies are needed, the results indicate Super-Cacao could be beneficial in helping reduce tiredness and fatigue in the body.
As well as its high flavanol content, cacao powder is also rich in magnesium - a cofactor for over 350 enzyme reactions in the human body, many of which involve energy metabolism. Upping your magnesium intake is an easy, natural way to help reduce tiredness and fatigue.
3. HEALTHY GUT
4. MUSCLE GROWTH & FITNESS
Every cell in the human body contains protein, therefore it’s crucial to be eating it daily to repair cells and support the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. Aduna Super-Cacao contains 23% of natural protein, perfect for those looking to up their protein intake and for vegans and vegetarians who may not be getting enough protein in their diet. Aduna Super-Cacao is also a source of potassium and magnesium with a single serving providing 15% and 26% NRV respectively. Potassium helps support normal muscle function.
Maintaining a good flow of oxygen to all our organs, muscles and tissues is key to athletic performance and post-workout recovery. Super-Cacao has been scientifically proven to improve blood flow – try it blended with banana for a pre or post workout smoothie. Thanks to its high magnesium and potassium content, it is also rich in electrolytes which further support muscle recovery.
5. STRESS RELIEF
A 2019 study by UCL found that eating dark chocolate can help reduce anxiety, positively affect mood and relieve symptoms of depression. The research compared chocolate consumption with depressive symptoms in 13,000 US adults. People who ate dark chocolate in the past 24 hours were 70% less likely to report feelings of depression.
Aduna’s Super-Cacao Powder is a source of magnesium and potassium, both of which are essential for normal psychological function and the running of the nervous system. Psychology Today magazine actually named magnesium as "The Original Chill Pill... an old home remedy for anxiety, apathy, depression, headaches, insecurity, irritability, restlessness... and sulkiness."
A single serving of cacao powder contains 26% of your magnesium NRV and 15% of your potassium NRV so adding it to your routine will help you to combat stress, relax and maintain a sense of calm.
6. FEEL GOOD
As well as stopping you from feeling stressed, cacao also actively makes you feel happier! Aduna’s Cacao Powder contains a powerful mix of beneficial natural compounds, including: serotonin, endorphins, phenylethylamine (a compound humans have been shown to produce when in love), tryptophan and anandamide, all of which have been shown to enhance mood and create feelings of euphoria. A natural way to feel good! Read our blog on How Cacao can help reduce stress & boost your mood.
7. BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure is one of the most important cardiovascular risk factors worldwide, and the majority of those who have it typically use drug therapy to control it. However, this is not the only option and there are proven methods to lower your blood pressure naturally, with the help of cacao. This relationship between cacao and blood pressure was first found in the Dutch Zutphen Elderly Study, where 470 elderly men were tracked for 15 years. Those with the highest cocoa consumption had lower blood pressure and an adjusted 50% relative reduction in risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Since then, various randomized dietary studies show that consuming cacao every day can significantly reduce blood pressure compared to those that don’t consume cacao. Aduna’s Super-Cacao is also a source of potassium (15% NRV per serving) which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure.
Even more reason to sip on our Cinnamon-Spiced Cacao Super Tea!
8. BRAIN POWER
The flavonoids in cacao and chocolate have been shown to have a positive effect on the brain - helping improve various types of cognitive and visual tasks. This is a result of more efficient blood flow to different nerve tissues, which regulate and control bodily functions and activity. One study of healthy volunteers showed that after just 5 days of consuming high-flavanol cacao there was improved blood flow to the brain.
Further to this, a similar study by researchers showed that daily consumption of cocoa flavanols improved thinking skills in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.
Not only can it improve thinking skills but the high antioxidant content found in cacao powder can also counteract or slow down cognitive decline during ageing. Furthermore, studies have shown that a diet rich in flavonoids can help reduce the risk of dementia.
It’s not just our insides that can benefit from the anti-aging powers of cacao - polyphenol antioxidants found in cacao protect our cells from premature oxidation or destruction and can keep us looking and feeling younger too. Try making a homemade Cacao Body Scrub and using after the shower for a refreshed body and face.
In addition to its heart health benefits, cacao powder is a naturally rich source of skin-loving antioxidants.
With an ORAC value of 97,428 Umol TE per 100g, cacao powder has:
- 4x the antioxidants of goji berries
- 80x the antioxidants of green tea
- 15x antioxidants of blueberries
For the full list of nutrients in Aduna Super-Cacao Powder check out our nutritional table.
What Does It Taste Like?
Aduna Super-Cacao has a delicious rich, chocolatey flavour.
To make a healthy hot chocolate, mix two teaspoons with hot milk and sweeten to taste. We like adding a couple of drops of vanilla essence and a shake of cinnamon to ours. Equally delicious cold served over ice.
Try it mixed into smoothies, sprinkled on breakfasts or as a nutritious alternative to cocoa in your baking recipes.
Shop The Aduna Super-Cacao Range:
- Aduna Super-Cacao Powder is available in three different sizes, starting from just £5.99 for 100g.
Shop The Aduna Cacao Range:
- Aduna Choc-Orange Burst Energy Bar - 100% natural & no added sugar, our Choc-Orange Burst bars contain a whole teaspoon of cacao powder, blended with dates, raisins, cashews & a burst of orange. A source of fibre, potassium & magnesium helping support energy release - it's the perfect healthy alternative to chocolate!
- Aduna Choco-Nut Bliss Energy Bar - 100% natural & organic, our Choco-Nut Bliss bars is the new & improved version of our original Cacao bar - hazelnuts and cashews pressed together with dates, raisins and cacao. A source of fibre, potassium and magnesium - afternoon snack time has never felt so good.
- Aduna Cinnamon Spiced Cacao Super Tea - 100% natural & organic, our 'Relax' tea is a warming embrace of chocolatey cacao, spiced with gently crushed cinnamon and cardamom.
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Alternatively, Aduna Super-Cacao is available in leading health and beauty retailers globally, so you can find you a shop near you on our store locator.
Cacao Benefits Sources:
European Food Safety Authority Journal 2012;10(7):2809; "EFSA Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to cocoa flavanols and maintenance of normal endothelium-dependent vasodilation pursuant to Article 13 (5) of Regulation 9EC) NO 1924/2006"
Flavanols are a type of polyphenol – a plant based antioxidant. Aduna Super-Cacao contains an average of 8.5% cacao flavanols per 5g serving. Regular cacao powder contains 0.5-1.5% cocoa flavanols per 5g serving.
American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 1 January 2002 Vol. 282 no. 1, H1-H5 DOI.
Flow-mediated dilation and cardiovascular risk prediction: A systematic review with meta-analysis, Ras RT, et al, Int J Cardiol (2012).
Cardiovascular disease statistics - World Health Organisation: "CVD Factsheet"; Jan 15.
UCL Study on Cacao & Mood https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190802145458.htm
Cocoa intake, blood pressure, and cardiovascular mortality: the Zutphen Elderly Study. Buijsse B1, Feskens EJ, Kok FJ, Kromhout D. Feb 2006.
Effects of Low Habitual Cocoa Intake on Blood Pressure and Bioactive Nitric Oxide. A Randomized Controlled Trial. Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD; Renate Roesen, PhD; Clara Lehmann, MD; et al.
Benefits in Cognitive Function, Blood Pressure, and Insulin Resistance Through Cocoa Flavanol Consumption in Elderly Subjects With Mild Cognitive Impairment. The Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) Study. August 2012.
The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive erformance. Astrid Nehlig. March 2013.