Cacao (pronounced ka-cow) is the raw bean that is roasted and often fermented to make the chocolate you know and love. However, during these processes, the nutrients and antioxidants naturally found in cacao are weakened, all the while making the delicious cocoa powder that is used to make chocolate. So yes, while dark, mildly sweetened chocolate is an antioxidant rich food, raw cacao is far better for you to eat and offers a variety of health benefits.
Possibly one of the greatest gifts of nature is that chocolate is anti-aging. With one of the highest measured antioxidant (ORAC) capacities, cacao helps protect your cells from oxidation and aging. Improving vascular health, increasing HDL (the good) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure have all been studied as benefits of incorporating antioxidant-rich cacao into your diet. Cacao also contains other important minerals like iron, selenium, copper, zinc and manganese.
As a valuable source of whole food magnesium, cacao helps to maintain a healthy brain, thyroid, and anti-inflammatory response but is particularly helpful to women in alleviating symptoms of PMS. Cacao has been widely studied for delivering a healthy dose of phenylethylamine, a derivative of the amino acid phenylalanine that regulates your mood and energy levels, and one of the reasons the world is full of chocolate lovers.
But here comes even better news. Contrary to the myth we all heard in middle-school, chocolate does not make you break out! In fact, studies show applying raw cacao offers a lot of the same benefits as eating it.
The high levels of antioxidants protect and repair the skin from damage and premature aging. And as a potent anti-inflammatory, it soothes redness and blemishes, improving the skin’s complexion. The natural oil derived from the cacao seed, also known as cacao butter, contains healthy omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy dose of skin soothing rejuvenation. While an increase in circulation stimulates new blood flow to the surface of the skin, keeping it healthy and glowing.
Is Cacao Good for skin?
While you may love to eat dark chocolate, you might not have thought to put it on your skin. Well, it turns out that applying raw cacao to your skin is full of health benefits that are sure to make your skin supple and glow. High in flavonoids and antioxidants, cacao can help protect and repair skin from premature aging and damage and improve your skin’s complexion by soothing redness and blemishes. Also, cacao (especially this cacao face mask recipe below) is excellent at stimulating blood circulation, which can help give you that rosy glow you work so hard for and can help smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
High in flavonoids and antioxidants, cacao can help protect and repair skin from premature aging and damage and improve your skin's complexion by soothing redness and blemishes.
The Skin Benefits of Dark Chocolate
While you may think this is bad for your waistline (which it very well may be, depending on the quality), did you know that consuming dark chocolate (with at least 70% cacao) is good for your skin? When we say cacao, we mean the real deal. Dark chocolate that has been processed is typically labeled as cocoa, while the raw variety that’s been minimally processed is often labeled as cacao.
So in this sense, when we speak about dark chocolate being good for your skin, we are talking about the real deal, cacao. Besides being good for your health, there are numerous skin benefits of dark chocolate (cacao) you need to be aware of.
If you are a chocoholic, there’s good news. Raw cacao (dark chocolate) offers various health benefits and is even considered a superfood. In translation, high-quality dark chocolate is a delicious way to make you feel and look good (when consumed in moderation). To learn more about this amazing superfood, read about the many skin benefits of dark chocolate.
• Raw cacao can help keep your skin looking youthful and plump by preventing the breakdown of collagen, the wrinkle-fighting protein.
• When cacao is used on the skin, cacao can help soothe blemishes and redness, improving your skin’s complexion.
• Cacao is chock full of antioxidants and fatty acids (such as stearic acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid) that helps keep your skin feeling smooth and protected by warding off free radical damage.
• If you are worried about suffering skin damage due to harmful UV rays, cacao can help due to its high antioxidant and flavonoids content. Because of this, it can even help prevent the signs of aging by promoting cell growth.A Superfood for the Skin & BodyA Superfood for the Skin & BodyA
Circulation stimulates new blood flow to the surface of the skin, keeping it healthy and glowing. A potent anti-inflammatory, it soothes redness and blemishes, improving the skin's complexion. High amounts of iron and magnesium, cacao is the richest food source of these nutrients.
Cacao Face Mask Recipe
• 2 Tbsps. of raw cacao powder
• 1 tsp of raw honey
• 1 tsp of coconut oil
• 1 tsp of filtered water (or hydrosol floral water)
1. In a small bowl, mix bentonite clay and cacao powder together. Since this recipe calls for bentonite clay, refrain from using a metal bowl or stirring apparatus since metal can interact with the bentonite clay and make it less effective.
3. Apply the cacao face mask generously to the face and neck. Apply a thick layer over the face.
4. Let your cacao face mask sit for 10-15 minutes.
5. Use warm water and an old facecloth to wash the mask off your face gently.
6. Once removed from your face, rinse with cold water and dry off your face.
7. Apply facial oil to the face for an added glow(optional). Bonus points if it’s cacao-based!