The words chocolate and superfood aren’t usually found in the same sentence. But as it turns out, cacao – a raw product made by cold-pressing cocoa beans – is supercharged with antioxidants, vitamins and phytochemicals.
From manganese and zinc to potassium and iron, cacao boasts a whole load of nutrients. But one of the most impressive is magnesium – a mineral that plays a part in more than 300 biochemical reactions. And with 500mg of the mineral found in every 100g cacao, what better excuse to indulge in this chocolatey superfood?
Magnesium and cacao: the chocolate superfood
Studies that rave about chocolate’s incredible health benefits aren’t usually referring to the dairy and sugar-loaded bars we’re all used to. Instead, they’re talking about cacao.
As the healthier relative of cocoa, raw cacao is made by cold-pressing fermented cocoa beans. Thanks to minimal processing, cacao nibs preserve the living enzymes found in the beans. In comparison, cocoa tends to be heavily processed, roasted at high temperatures and pumped full of sugar before it reaches the store.
Magnesium is vital for a huge range of biochemical reactions. Without this mineral our cholesterol levels would be out of whack; our muscles would contract; and our body would fail to produce the energy it needs.
So it goes without saying, magnesium is essential. Yet despite its huge importance, up to 80 percent of Americans are not getting enough. That’s why mineral-rich foods like cacao are so important.
Packed full of magnesium, along with a whole host of other essential nutrients, cacao carries some incredible health benefits. Here are just a few of them.
The impressive health benefits of magnesium
1. Eases muscle pain
Anybody who’s ever thrown themselves into a new workout regime will know the pain of sore muscles. But luckily magnesium may be able to help. Studies suggest that this mineral helps to manage muscle contractions and neuromuscular signals, as well as relaxing overworked arterial smooth muscle.
2. Helps promote calm
Magnesium has earned the name ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ for a reason. In fact, the mineral may be able to relieve a huge range of mental health issues, including stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Correlations between the incidence of magnesium deficiency and depression have even led researchers to investigate the potential of magnesium supplementation as a potential treatment for the condition.
One randomized, controlled trial of elderly patients suffering from depression compared an FDA-approved antidepressant with a magnesium chloride equivalent. Both treatments proved equally effective in reducing symptoms of depression.
3. Assists with migraine relief
Magnesium’s effectiveness as a muscle relaxant makes it a useful treatment for migraines. With tension headaches featuring as one of the most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency, it makes sense to boost your intake of mineral-rich foods like cacao.
4. Potential constipation treatment
Magnesium has long been considered a useful treatment for constipation. As an osmotic laxative, the mineral relaxes the bowel and pulls water into the intestines. It also help neutralize the acids found within the stomach, helping the body to pass digested food. While the levels of magnesium found in cacao won’t provide instant relief from constipation, a regular intake can promote long-term healthy digestion.
Cacao has much more than just magnesium to offer. Find out more about this intriguingly tasty superfood ...