5 Health Benefits Cacao Powder That Will Make You Ditch Chocolate For Good

by Jenn Ryan

This will be your New Year's fad.

We've all heard of cocoa powder, but have you ever heard of cacao powder?

While it almost looks like I wrote the same words there, I promise I didn't.

Cacao powder is the purer version of cocoa powder. It's less processed because it uses a cold press extraction method rather than the heating process that cocoa uses that kills many of the nutrients.

Why should you reach for cacao powder at the store rather than your go-to cocoa source? Here are five insane health benefits of this powder that'll kick-start your New Year's resolutions to feel better, lose weight, be healthier and oh yeah — look as young as you feel.

It's a Power Drug for Your Brain

Cacao has one of the highest antioxidants of any food on the planet. This means that it prevents cell death in your brain while simultaneously encouraging your brain's ability to create new memories and make new connections (light bulb!).

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Cacao also increases brain blood flow, which means more oxygen to your brain. This results in a greater alertness and cognitive abilities.

The flavonoids in cacao—which function as antioxidants—help to prevent disease in the brain associated with aging, especially Alzheimer's disease and other forms of cognitive decline.

So you can add a tablespoon of this amazing stuff to your smoothie to help generate new memories and amp up your brain power.

Prevent Obesity and Attain a Healthy Weight

One of the most attractive qualities of cacao powder is that it has the ability to help you tip the scale in your favor. This is because of the many compounds in cacao that can actually help initiate fat burning throughout your body.

These include compounds such as xanthine and flavonoids like quercetin and anthocyanidins.

These flavonoids not only help you burn fat, but combat inflammation as well, so that you don't feel as sore when you're done your workout. You can look great while you lose weight and stay motivated to keep in shape this year.

Make your own “chocolate” milk post-workout with cacao powder.

Improves Mood

I don't know about you, but I could definitely use some mood improvement assistance in the winter.

Luckily for me and anyone who comes into contact with me, cacao powder actually boosts your mood through its polyphenol content, which works to reduce anxiety and self-contentment while also combating fatigue.

When you can get all this without the jittery effects of coffee, cacao is looking more and more like a savior to those of us who don't tolerate coffee well despite its many benefits. Try cacao in iced coffee for added benefits.

Younger-Looking Skin

Cacao's antioxidant power keeps your skin looking young and healthy. Not only does it protect against skin aging, but also can help prevent skin damage. Young-looking skin is more than just what you put on it—your diet and lifestyle matter just as much, if not more.

Even if you have skin damage from UV rays, cacao can help prevent any lasting damage since it zaps free radicals and help your skin maintain its firmness and youth.

Who knew drinking some hot cacao (use just like you would cocoa) could help make your skin glow?

Protects the Heart

Your heart is a muscle just like the rest of your body that can benefit from the added protection of cacao as well. Since cacao helps prevent aging, it can help your heart to feel a little younger too. It can actually even help lower blood pressure while reducing risk for stroke and even improve cholesterol. All of these positive effects can decrease your risk for heart disease.

You can even protect your body against diabetes, as cacao helps improve blood sugar and prevent any problems with insulin the body.

Ditching cocoa in favor of cacao has some great benefits. Not only does it have more antioxidants, but it retains more of its healthy compounds and has a significant level of magnesium, which can help with everything from stress to sleep.

Forget about chocolate this year and incorporate cacao into your diet to help prevent aging, boost your mood, achieve your weight-loss goals, and enhance your cognitive abilities.

With better-looking skin to match, it'll be a whole new you this new year.