Cacao: Properties and Benefits

The cacao tree is an evergreen that can reach 10 meters in height and produces white flowers with pink shades from which develop the fruits that, at the beginning, before darkening, recall the shape of the cedar. The cacao is made from the seeds found inside the fruit through a number of processes that can be roasting, grinding and brewing.

The scientific name of the cacao tree is Theobroma cacao, belongs to the family of Sterculiaceae and is found mostly in South America. It was Christopher Columbus from America to import the cocoa plant; he, rather than by the properties of the food plant, was struck by the value that the natives gave to the cacao that was used as a real coin.

There are two types of cacao which in reality are the same thing, the difference consists in the method of extraction from the bean and the quality of the bean. The raw cacao is cold pressed without the use of chemicals while cocoa is extracted with heat.
Cacao: Properties and benefits
The substances contained in cacao are represented by lipids, carbohydrates and proteins as well as minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and sodium.

Very important is the presence of chemicals with beneficial properties for the human body as caffeine, the serotonin, the tyramine and phenylethylamine. In the last is to be counted in the presence of cocoa some B vitamins, especially vitamin B3 that is present in discrete quantity.


Benefits and Curative Properties of Cacao

First, it is worth pointing out that thanks to its content of minerals, vitamins and carbohydrates cacao is a very energetic food and then recommended to the attention of sportsmen but also to those who are in the age of development. Plain chocolate (bitter one for instance) contains a good amount of antioxidants that can fight harmful free radicals and slow down the aging process of cells.

According to a recent research conducted in England would be enough to take about 20 grams of plain chocolate a day to extend the length of life.

The theobromine, present in cacao together to caffeine, has the property of increasing the concentration and alertness, while serotonin has the ability to "support" the nervous system in case of depression. Note that another component of cacao, tyramine, is employed for the preparation of antidepressant drugs.
All studies performed on cacao confirm that the greatest benefits to our health are brought about by the consumption of plain chocolate (of course, do not overdo it); in fact, only in plain chocolate, epicatechin, a flavonoid that gives the classic bitter taste, retains its antioxidant properties.
Cacao Curiosity
Cocoa butter is obtained by pressing the seeds of the cacao which contain up to 55%. Given the relatively high cost for its production, the cocoa butter is often "cut" with other fatty substances that can go from palm oil paraffin; once these fats are well blended with the cocoa butter also assume its features.

For food use, as is known, the cocoa butter is used for the preparation of chocolate and some sweets, while, for pharmaceutical use, is employed in the preparation of suppositories and various pills. In the cosmetic field, instead, the cocoa butter is used in stick-allergenic for lips and lipsticks.
The Various Types of Chocolate and Cacao
To get the cacao powder is extracted the fat part of the seeds, or cocoa butter from the chocolate paste; what remains is ground to form cacao powder.
Plain chocolate: it is obtained by adding to the chocolate paste other than cocoa butter, in practice, the reverse procedure that is used to obtain the cacao powder.

Milk chocolate: is obtained by adding a percentage of milk and sugar to plain chocolate.

White chocolate: is made up exclusively from cocoa butter, milk and sugar.
Cacao: Properties and benefits
Cacao: Properties and benefits
Chemical Composition
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The Contraindications of Cacao
Better to avoid giving it to children under three years old, as it may trigger allergic reactions.
In people prone to high blood pressure and nervousness the presence of caffeine in cacao may accentuate these symptoms. Due to the presence of tannins, the active ingredients with astringent properties, we do not recommend the use of cacao to people with problems of constipation and hemorrhoids.
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Recent studies have shown that the relationship between chocolate and pimples doesn't exist.

According to the doctors at Missouri State University chocolate, and consequently cocoa, they would have healing properties on headaches; it seems that the cacao has anti-inflammatory properties and contains substances with analgesic properties.

The cacao tree is able to give two crops per year and reaches its full development in the space of ten years; a cacao plantation produce fruit for about 30 years.

Chocolate consumption causes the body to produce endorphins, the effect of which gives a feeling of euphoria and well-being similar to those caused by opium.

The ancient population of the Maya and Aztecs considered cacao "food of the gods" and in fact the cacao was often offered as gifts to the gods at the time.

It takes just 40 grams of chocolate to benefit from cacao and at the same time not to exceed with the ingested calories, only 216.
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Cacao: properties and benefits
Cacao: properties and benefits
The Contraindications of Cacao
The polyphenols present in the cocoa block the activation of cells involved in inflammatory processes and at the same time oppose the aggregation of platelets in the blood, reducing the risk of heart attack.
Caco: properties and benefits
Cacao: Properties and benefits
Cacao: properties and benefits
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