Why Cacao and Turmeric Should Be In Every Woman’s Pantry
There’s no doubt about it: food is medicine. Our bodies regenerate thanks to and quite literally become the foods that we eat, so learning to harness the power of nutrients to thrive is the key to health. Today we are going to highlight two delicious superfoods: cacao and turmeric, and the many ways these two foods can enhance your brainpower and support mental health.
Although chocolate has generally taken on a bad reputation, the original form (cacao) is a superfood. Cacao powder,(affiliate links) historically a food of the gods, and its scientific name Theobroma Cacao comes from the word theo, meaning god, and broma meaning drink. Although you do probably want to avoid chocolate filled with added refined sugars, preservatives, milk solids, and hydrogenated fats– raw cacao in its pure form is loaded with health benefits.
Cacao helps regulate moods thanks to a wide range of nutrients. One of these nutrients is a substance called anandamide. This molecule acts as a neurotransmitter in the body and supports a wide range of functions, including appetite, pain, depression, fertility, and memory. It increases neurogenesis (the creation of new cells) and stimulates a sensation of bliss in the body. Anandamide is associated with a reduction of depression and anxiety.
Cacao contains another mood-enhancing substance called phenethylamine (or PEA). This compound releases endorphins in the body, similar to the ones released when we’re in love with having sex.
Cacao also boosts serotonin levels in the brain, which is a common cause of PMS symptoms. Using cacao during the premenstrual and menstrual phase can not only replenish vital minerals like iron and magnesium but also help reduce hormonal mood swings. Since cacao also acts as a natural pain reliever and blood thinner, it can also provide relief from cramps and other painful menstrual symptoms.
New studies also suggest that cacao may be a missing link when it comes to preventing Alzheimer’s disease. The science highlights the importance of flavanols, particularly epicatechin, to improve blood circulation, memory, and heart health. A Harvard study demonstrated that the improved blood flow to the brain occurred with two cups of hot cacao drinks per day, which resulted in improved memory and cognitive function.
Cacao is, without a doubt, a mood-boosting, brain-supporting superfood that women should have on hand to naturally support their bodies and health. By avoiding conventional chocolate bars and opting for raw cacao instead, you can supercharge your smoothies and hot drinks without the nasties of most store-bought goods (that generally contain very little cacao anyways).
Turmeric is equally famous for staining clothes and fighting inflammation. The bio-active ingredient in turmeric that gives this root its anti-inflammatory properties is called curcumin. From the curcuminoids family, curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that also carries anti-cancer and antimicrobial properties.
Like cacao, turmeric has a significant role in supporting neurological health. Studies suggest it can play a decisive role in reducing conditions ranging from migraines to depression, and even Alzheimer’s.
Inflammation is at the root of various disease models, and curcumin can help fight the chronic low level of inflammation that can promote cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and degenerative neurological disorders. This anti-inflammatory effect has shown curcumin to be more effective than certain pharmaceutical-based anti-inflammatory drugs, without any of the side effects.
Curcumin also increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (or BDNF), which is a type of growth process in the brain. Various brain disorders are linked to a down-regulation of BDNF. Curcumin is being explored as an effective method for delaying and even reversing age-related neurodegenerative diseases.
Although turmeric has brilliant health properties, it’s important to note that for certain medicinal purposes– plain turmeric powder has relatively poor bioavailability. Curcumin holds about 3% of the total weight of turmeric. Black pepper (piperine) helps increase the absorption of the beneficial properties. Still, if being used medicinally, it’s best to opt for a fermented or Meriva form of curcumin in capsule form.
Cacao Spiked Golden Mylk Latte
Combining cacao and turmeric is an absolute must, not only for the flavor but for all the brain-boosting benefits. This recipe is one of our favorites, and can be enjoyed daily for a natural energy boost, and to support cognitive function today and in the long run. Note that the black pepper is optional, and will enhance the absorption benefits of curcumin.
- 1.5 cups of non-dairy milk of choice (we like coconut)
- 1 tsp organic turmeric powder
- ½ tsp organic cinnamon powder
- 3 tsp organic cacao powder
- 1 tsp raw honey
- Optional: a crack of organic black pepper
- Warm up the milk in a saucepan, and remove from heat just before it boils.
- Pour all the ingredients and the milk into a heat-friendly blender, blend, and enjoy!
Where can you get cost effective ingredients? I recommend joining Thrive Market!
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