My first reaction upon hearing the benefits of cacao beans was who knew? Well, apparently lots of people in Africa, Asia, South and Central America where the Theobroma cacao plants that produce the cacao beans grow.
The name of the plant translated means "Food of the Gods" , which is understandable considering the many physical benefits it provides.
Research shows that cacao beans may be the best source of antioxidants, containing up to ten percent antioxidant concentration levels - 621 antioxidants!
Cacao beans are also a great energy booster. The beans reduce anxiety while promoting alertness. One cup of cocoa can provide the same energy as a cup of coffee, but without the crash.
In addition to boosting your energy levels and providing large amounts of antioxidants, what really surprised me is that it contains Epicatechin! This is a compound so rich in health benefits that some experts think it should be considered a vitamin! It is suspected by many that epicatechin can invoke two major muscle building properties: decreasing myostatin and increasing follistatin.
Myostatin is a regulating protein that controls the rate of muscle growth in your body, making sure that it doesn’t get out of hand. It is also known to create a so-called “genetic sealing” – the more myostatin present in your body, the lower the amount of muscle mass that you can build.
The follistatin protein serves as an antagonist to myostatin as it diminishes myostatin’s effect to limit muscle building. To put it simply, if your goal is to build muscle you want myostatin reduced and follistatin increased – which is exactly what Epicatechin is shown to do.
There are many ways to take cacao beans. They can be eaten raw, ground into powder, taken as capsules to name a few. Find out what works best for you. As always consult your physician and/or naturopath to determine if this works for you. We are not all the same, but fearfully and wonderfully made.