- King of Antioxidants: As measured by ORAC value, cacao is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on earth—even more so than all-stars like goji berries, acai, and blueberries. Here are some useful explanations on what antioxidants are and why they're so good for you.
- Better than Caffeine: Cacao is the single richest source of theobromine of any food in the world. Theobromine is a naturally-occurring stimulant in the same chemical family as caffeine, but it’s longer-lasting than caffeine and less jittery. Read more about theobromine here.
- Cognitive Function: Theobromine and other flavonols in cacao help improve cognitive function—not only the same day you consume it, but also cumulatively over the long-term as we age. Refer to this study.
- Mood-Enhancing: Cacao has multiple chemical compounds with measurable mood-enhancing properties, including: serotonin and serotonin precursors like tryptophan; a neurotransmitter called phenylethylamine (also known as “the love drug”); and the body’s own naturally-occurring antidepressant called anandamide (known as “the bliss molecule”).
- Skin Health: Flavonols in cacao help regulate skin health at a genetic level, boosting collagen and “significantly” reducing wrinkles caused by exposure to the sun. Check out this study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
- Quality of Sleep: Whereas caffeine-rich foods like coffee can wreak havoc on sleep patterns, cacao actually helps. Cacao is one of the richest dietary sources of magnesium, a natural sedative that can greatly improve the quality of sleep once bedtime arrives. Theobromine gives you energy throughout the day, but when it comes time to sleep, you sleep well.
- THE MAIN TAKE-AWAY: Cacao is arguably the healthiest thing you can put into your body. It allows you to operate at a high level and helps you feel good throughout the day. And when the day is over, you can still sleep.
Personal note: When we were growing up, there was an iconic TV commercial for the Hair Club for Men, which ended with the line "And remember, I'm not only the Hair Club president, but I'm also a client..." That's kind of how I feel about cacao. Long before I co-founded To'ak, I became a daily user of cacao. It has fueled that last twelve years of my life. For a more detailed account of that whole process, check out "Theobromine and the Performance-Enhancing Properties of Cacao & Dark Chocolate."