It’s nearly universal: people love chocolate. Most people know that chocolate is made from the cacao bean, which is actually the seed of the cacao fruit. Those who are interested in health and nutritional supplements may also be aware that chocolate has certain health benefits, such as antioxidants, benefits to the circulatory system, and reduced risk of heart attack. But in their fervor to get to the seeds of the cacao tree, most people have been passing over the actual fruit. But there has been a recent trend towards treating the fruit of the cacao treat like an actual fruit, and enjoying the results.
The cacao tree bears fruit, but you’re not likely to see it on sale at your local supermarket. But some companies are starting to process cacao fruit like a fruit instead of just tossing aside the fruit for its seeds. It’s starting to show up in a form that looks and tastes like a fruit. This is an ingenious thought that also prevents the wasting of some excellent fruit. Once again, the fruit has health benefits of its own, so using it not only prevents waste, but can also have many health benefits for its consumers.
Cacao fruit is full of anthocyanins. These plant pigments give chocolate its red tint. Not only that, but anthocyanins have many potential health benefits that are still being researched. It may protect against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections. Its usefulness in treating cancer is particularly compelling. Research on anthocyanins so far is showing promise in curbing the growth of pre-malignant cells, apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells, reducing the inflammation that can initiate tumor growth, inhibiting angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels that supply nutrients to tumors), and minimizing DNA damage from cancer.
It’s actually rather shocking that it’s taken this long for use and consumption of the cacao fruit to hit the mainstream. With so many potential health benefits, people should have started eating it long ago. In the very near future, it’s sure to become the latest hot trend in health food and nutrition. While it might be a while before you’re able to purchase it at your local grocery store, you should soon start to see it showing up in powdered form at your favorite health food store. Once you do, be sure to give it a try. Your body will thank you for it.