Cacao is essentially RAW version of the cocoa bean that maintains the antioxidants, enzymes and friendly gut bacteria. Cacao that is linked to increased cardiovascular health, lowered blood pressure and lowered blood glucose levels.
Cacao is rich in minerals, such as magnesium, zinc, manganese, iron, and copper. Cacao also contains the perfect fat ratios for testosterone production. Very dark chocolate is good for you (look out for cocoa / cacao mixes), never go for the factory produced chocolates.
Studies suggest a beneficial effect of dark chocolate on blood pressure, lipids and inflammation. Benefits include greater nitric oxide bioavailability (which helps men achieve an erection).
- Magnesium is a mineral needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies, and cacao nibs contain 20mg per teaspoon. (RDA: 400-420 mg/day for men and 310-320 mg/day for women).
- Cacao nibs are high-fibre foods. Cacao nibs are about 20% dietary fibre.
- Cacao is one of the most rich high-antioxidant foods around thanks to the phytonutrients available in cacao nibs.
Cocoa has some similar health benefits, but the processing and heating reduces the micro-nutrients.
Buying dark chocolate
If you buy chocolate then go for the best brand with the highest % of cocoa. Some supermarkets even sell cacao/cocoa brands (although they are very bitter!). A few squares of very dark chocolate won't do you any harm.
Sources: draxe.com, anabolicmen.com