Article Written By: Dr. Jacqueline Moulton, ND BSc.(Hons)
Website: www.drjmoultonnd.com
Instagram: @drjmoultonnd 

Cacao beans are the seeds of the Cocoa tree, which is found in tropical climates. The bean powder is a source of phytonutrients called polyphenols, which include epicatechin and catechin. These polyphenols are thought to have beneficial effects on health. They are also found in dark unprocessed chocolate, cocoa beverages, and in processed chocolate products in smaller amounts. This picture shows the cocoa seed pods in which the beans are found within. The husk is very fibrous and can be used as a tea.

Cacao Beans versus Nibs:

Beans have a hard texture similar to a coffee bean. The nibs are crushed beans still have a hard texture but when added to smoothies etc… it creates a chocolate chip like texture & flavour.

  • Healthy Digestion: The fiber in cacao beans promotes healthy digestion.
  • Heart Health: Contains more heart-healthy flavonoids than red wine. Lowering risk of Heart disease & stroke.
  • Mental Health: Improved Mood by boosting our reward neurotransmitters.
  • Pain Management: Reduces Inflammation in the body esp. the lungs
  • Immune Health: High in anti-oxidants reducing reactive oxygen species (ROS).
  • Maintain Muscle and Nerve Function: One of the best magnesium-rich food sources.

Cacao Butter:

A decent source of vitamin E, which benefits your body in many ways. Vitamin E supports vision, reproduction, and the health of your brain, skin, and blood. 

Contains a high amount of fatty acids, which make it well-suited as a primary ingredient in skin cream.

High in fat, mostly saturated fat, just like coconut oil. The amount of saturated fat it contains (as opposed to unsaturated fat) is between 57-64 % of the total fat content, depending on the exact kind. Among the different types of fatty acids are:

  • stearic acid (~24-37%)
  • palmitic acid (24-30%)
  • myristic acid (0-4%)
  • arachidic acid (~1%)
  • lauric acid (~1%)

Cacao Powder:

Same Health benefits as the cacao beans & nibs but ground finely. It can be used to replace cocoa or chocolate powders in baking, smoothies, hot chocolate and more.

  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Reduced Diabetes Risk
  • Reduced Heart Disease Risk
  • Reduced Inflammation

Cacao Husk:

The outer husk or the dried seed pod can be used like loose leaf tea to create an indulgent low caffeine/calorie chocolatey tea.

  • Rich in Nutrients: As a cacao bean by-product, the husks contain similar nutrients to the beans, such as B vitamins, vitamin A, iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium.
  • Great for diabetics by improving insulin sensitivity
  • Packed with Antioxidants.
  • Improve Mood
  • Low in Calories

Are you new to using cacao nibs, powders, husks or even butter? Miski Organics provide an amazing Cacao Superfoods Box with nibs, beans, powders & husks. Follow the link below to learn more or buy this cacao collection. https://miskiorganics.com/product/cacao-lovers-superfood-collection-box/ 

Reference:

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Yoon HS, Kim JR, Park GY, et al. Cocoa flavanol supplementation influences skin conditions of photo-aged women: a 24-week double-blind, randomized, controlled trial. J Nutr 2016;146(1):46-50.

Yuan S, Li X, Jin Y, Lu J. Chocolate Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. Nutrients. 2017;9(7). pii: E688. 

Hooper L, Kay C, Abdelhamid A, et al. Effects of chocolate, cocoa, and flavan-3-ols on cardiovascular health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:740-51

Jafarnejad S, Salek M, Clark CCT. Cocoa consumption and blood pressure in middle-aged and elderly subjects: a meta-analysis. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2020;22(1):1.

Hollenberg NK, Fisher ND. Is it the dark in dark chocolate? Circulation 2007;116:2360-2.

Bruinsma K, Taren DL. Chocolate: Food or Drug? J Am Diet Assoc 1999;99:1249-58. 

Baron AM, Donnerstein RL, Samson RA, et al. Hemodynamic and electrophysiologic effects of acute chocolate ingestion in young adults. Am J Cardiol 1999;84:370-3.

Sies, H., Schewe, T., Heiss, C., and Kelm, M. Cocoa polyphenols and inflammatory mediators. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81(1 Suppl):304S-312S.