Cacao is raw, pure chocolate before it is made into the chocolate as we know it. It is super high in magnesium, a mineral that relaxes our muscles and eases pain in the body; it’s no wonder that we crave chocolate! Cacao contains polyphenolic compounds that are super beneficial to our health. It has also been proven by the science community to be an anti-inflammatory with anti-tumor activities.[i] Cacao is a fruit that is grown naturally on trees all over the world in warmer climates, and it’s been shown to have many potential anti-cancer compounds because of its high antioxidant count and its ability to reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of obesity, and improve cardiovascular circulation.[ii]
A cacao pod grows to the size of a football, and inside it are an bunch of cacao pods surrounded by white cacao butter. Usually, after cacao is harvested it is taken and heat processed to make it into cocoa. Because of the heat, cocoa does not have as many nutrients as a raw cacao powder. Raw cacao powder is so, so, so high in nutrients and minerals.
By the way, chocolate can be healthy so long as it’s eaten in a pure form and without all the other crazy ingredients that are usually added, like GMO dairy, GMO soy lecithin, and refined white sugar. Raw cacao powder is a glorious gift from God. It’s not for everyone because it is high in caffeine, especially if you have burned-out adrenals. If that’s your situation, the key to getting the antioxidant goodness of chocolate is to purchase a clean chocolate (like my personal brand, which is sold on my website. This is the reason I made this product!). What does “clean” mean? It means, chocolate made without GMO ingredients and without dairy, soy, and sugar. When you purchase a dairy-free chocolate that is sweetened with coconut sugar it is way better for you and actually provides health benefits.
I am a strong advocate for the healing power of cacao. You’ve read my testimony about how I ate food made from cacao powder every single day during my healing. You can, of course, also make your own chocolate from it. There are plenty of recipes my book, "Cancer Free with Food," for that. Woohoo! Still, to this day, I eat cacao powder almost every single day. If you crave chocolate, do not deprive yourself of it.
The physiological effects of caffeine and theobromine, the most abundant methylxanthines in cacao, are notable. Theobromine is a heart stimulant and vasodilator—meaning, it widens blood vessels. It is used to treat high blood pressure and is also a diuretic. All these benefits assist in keeping the body in a healthy state, which makes the body less hospitable to cancer. A study showed that theobromine might be extremely effective in preventing human glioblastoma, brain tumors.[iii]
Caffeine from tea or coffee helps increase stamina and focus, has a positive effect on memory (which can help you if you are experiencing “chemo brain,” foggy thinking that is a side effect of chemotherapy. It also has many other known health benefits (as long as consumed in moderation) and has been observed to decrease risk of certain cancers, including endometrial cancer.[iv],[v] According to John Hopkins University, the bodies of coffee drinkers are less likely to develop colon cancer, have a stronger DNA, and process glucose (sugar) better.[vi]
These health-promoting benefits are so remarkable that chocolate is being explored as a functional food, useful for improving cardiovascular health.[vii] Research is currently being done on the effects of cacao on aging, oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis. [viii] It also appears to have the potential for lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease-related hypercoagulation due to hypercholesterolemia. [ix]
One study revealed significant reduction of body weight and body mass index (BMI).[x] Cacao may help us to maintain a healthy weight, which lowers our risk of obesity. It’s been proven that obese people have a higher risk of developing cancer.
Researchers investigating colitis-associated cancer did a two-month-long study with mice who either received 5 percent cacao or 0 percent cacao. On Day 62, their colons were examined. Inflammation was reduced for both sets of mice. The cacao treatment had increased enzyme activity and upped the presence of antioxidants! Although not definitive yet, the results suggest that cacao may prevent the development of colon cancer in humans. [xi]
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease are at risk for developing ulcerative colitis-associated colorectal cancer. Another study (again, of mice) explored cacao’s antitumor effects. Researchers found that cacao significantly decreased tumor incidence and size! In addition to inhibiting proliferation of tumor epithelial cells, the findings also demonstrated that a cacao-rich diet suppresses the formation and growth of tumors. [xii]
Cacao Is Especially Good For . . .
Doctrine of Signatures: In nature, a cacao pod when cut open looks like the chambers of the lungs and therefore is associated with lung health. Cacao gives you the feeling of having wings. It makes you open up and expand—so you can see how this correlates! Cacao pods also resemble the female genitalia. Perhaps this is why it makes so much sense that ladies crave chocolate, especially at the time of the month that can be painful.
Caution: Cacao contains natural caffeine, just like coffee and tea. Caffeine is not for everyone, especially if you have over consumed caffeine for years or have adrenal burnout. Make sure to buy organic cacao that is labelled “fair trade.” This is important, as cacao is a huge industry and major corporations have been criticized for using slave child labor, forcing kids as young as four years old to work in fields. You don’t want to support that industry or consume the energy of that.
Cancer-Free with Food Recipes with Cacao
Other Ways of Incorporating Cacao in Your Cancer-Healing Kitchen
Resources from Cancer-Free with Food book:
[i] S.A. Oyeleke, A.M. Ajayi, S. Umukoro. “Anti-inflammatory Activity of Theobroma Cacao L. Stem Bark Ethanol Extract and Its Fractions in Experimental Models,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 222 (August 2018), pp. 239–48, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29733944.
[ii] Z. Baharum, A.M. Akim, T.Y. Hin, et al. “Theobroma Cacao: Review of the Extraction, Isolation, and Bioassay of Its Potential Anti-cancer Compounds,” Tropical Life Sciences Research, vol. 27, no. 1 (February 2016), pp. 21–42, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27019680.
[iii] N. Sugimoto, S. Miwa, Y. Hitomi, et al. “Theobromine, the Primary Methylxanthine Found in Theobroma cacao, Prevents Malignant Glioblastoma proliferation by Negatively Regulating Phosphodiesterase-4, Extracellular signal-regulated Kinase, Akt/mammalian Target of Rapamycin Kinase, and Nuclear factor-kappa B,” Nutrition and Cancer, vol. 66, no. 3 (February 2014), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24547961.
[iv] “Caffeine Has Positive Effect on Memory,” Johns Hopkins Medicine (accessed July 3, 2018), https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/stories/caffeine_memory.html.
[v] M. Hashibe, C. Galeone, S.S. Buys, et al. “Coffee, Tea, Caffeine Intake, and the Risk of Cancer in the PLCO Cohort,” British Journal of Cancer, vol. 113, no. 5 (September 2015), pp. 809–16, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26291054.
[vi] Healthy Woman blog. “Nine Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee Is Good for You,” Johns Hopkins Medicine (accessed July 4, 2018), https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy-woman/nutrition-fitness/9-reasons-why-the-right-amount-of-coffee-is-good-for-you.
[vii] R. Franco, A. Oñatibia-Astibia, E. Martínez-Pinilla. “Health Benefits of Methylxanthines in Cacao and Chocolate,” Nutrients, vol. 5, no. 10 (October 2013), pp. 4159–73, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24145871.
[viii] R. Latif. “Chocolate/Cocoa and Human Health: A Review,” Netherlands Journal of Medicine, vol. 71, no. 2 (March 2013), pp. 63–8, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23462053.
[ix] S.J. Kim, S.H. Park, H.W. Lee, et al. “Cacao Polyphenols Potentiate Anti-Platelet Effect of Endothelial Cells and Ameliorate Hypercoagulatory States Associated with Hypercholesterolemia,” Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, vol. 17, no. 4 (April 2017), pp. 2817–823, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29668171.
[x] H. Kord-Varkaneh, E. Ghaedi, A. Nazary-Vanani. “Does cocoa/dark chocolate supplementation have favorable effect on body weight, body mass index and waist circumference? A systematic review, meta-analysis and dose-response of randomized clinical trials,” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition (March 19, 2018), pp. 1–14, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29553824.
[xi] A.K. Pandurangan, Z. Saadatdoust, N.M. Esa. “Dietary cocoa protects against colitis-associated cancer by activating the Nrf2/Keap1 pathway,” Biofactors, vol. 41, no. 1 (January 2015), pp. 1–14, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25545372.
[xii] Z. Saadatdoust, A.K. Pandurangan, S.K. Ananda Sadagopan, et al. “Dietary cocoa inhibits colitis associated cancer: a crucial involvement of the IL-6/STAT3 pathway,” Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, vol. 26, no. 12 (December 2015), pp. 1547–58, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26355019.
by liana werner-gray
Hi. I am a Health researcher bringing you honest information about cancer healing treatments and foods that kill (and cause) cancer! I love diving into the scientific studies that show this research.