Raw cacao is very different from the cocoa powder you see in the baking or hot chocolate aisle. Yes, they both come from the cocoa bean but the process of obtaining the powders is very different. This is mostly due to heat. Cocoa powder is obtained by roasting the bean at high temperature which results in a vast reduction in the nutritious compounds. Cocoa powder is also subjected to an alkalising process to make it palatable to a mass market which reduces the magnesium and calcium content.
In contrast raw cacao is made by cold pressing non roasted beans which retains all those nutrients including magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and calcium.
Here are some of the active compounds and nutrients in raw cacao that can help you alleviate anxiety and improve your mood.
- Polyphenols present in raw cacao are natural compounds studied as a mood food that support brain health. A 2012 study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience showed that polyphenols improved cognitive functioning as well as psychiatric disorders like depression.
- Salsolinol present in raw cacao stimulates the pleasure neurotransmitter dopamine.
- Anandamide the bliss molecule. Raw cacao contains anandamide which was the first endocannabinoid found in the brain. If you have read our potted history to CBD you will be familiar with this pleasure giving endocannabinoid. Coined the bliss molecule, anandamide is responsible for feelings of euphoria and improves mood.
- Magnesium the relaxer mineral. In which most people are actually deficient. Magnesium is important for energy, muscles and nerves but is vital for muscle relaxation. A deficiency in magnesium leads to insomnia, muscle twitching, anxiety and palpitations, all signs of stress. The magnesium in cacao is a great way to keep anxiety systems at bay and reduce irritability.
- PEA or phenethylamine to give it the full name. PEA present in raw cacao releases endorphins the pleasure chemicals of the brain. Endorphins contribute to how we feel when we fall in love and during sex. The only other food to contain PEA is blue green algae. Chocolate or algae it’s a tough one!
- Tryptophan in raw cacao is a natural anti-depressant. It transforms into stress protecting serotonin and melatonin.
- Raw cacao contains small amounts of serotonin our stress defence in the body.
Our Raw Cacao powder can be purchased as it comes but is also used in our Mum on the run, Gym bunny, Natural energy and Vegan Hot Choc. See our Organic Superfoods for the raw cacao containing range,