The Health Benefits of Cacao - In Praise of ‘Chocolate’

  • 3 min read

Good news for all fellow skincare and chocolate lovers: the ingredient behind chocolate is ready to shed the association of being a guilty pleasure.

Fighting the signs of ageing, improving blood flow and enhancing tissue regeneration are just a few of the remarkable health benefits of cacao. Of course, we’re talking about healthy, raw, antioxidant-rich cacao rather than the overprocessed, sugary iteration. Keen to learn more about the health benefits of cacao and how to turn snacking into a healthy habit? We’ve got you covered.


First things first: what is cacao and cocoa?

Native to tropical climates, cacao trees take 4-6 years to flower and produce cacao beans (also known as cacao seeds). Although there’s still discussion about the details of terminology, cacao usually refers to the raw, unprocessed beans chocolate is made from, while cocoa is the roasted and powdered or ground version.



In their unprocessed form, cacao beans are one of nature’s incredible treasures. Containing more antioxidants and flavanol than most foods (beating blueberries, goji berries, red wine and pomegranates), these beans are best consumed in their pure, raw form to harness their benefits. Speaking of benefits...

Skincare benefits of Cacao

Anti-inflammatory effects

Those with an interest in skincare already know that anti-inflammatory qualities play a key role in protecting from free radical damage and reducing swelling. Skin inflammation can present itself as irritation, redness, burning, extreme sensitivity and acne – but luckily, cacao is suggested to ease many of these symptoms.


Besides treating inflammation, cacao is an upcoming anti-ageing hero. Protecting from molecules and harmful UV rays that speed up ageing and damage the skin, it’s been proven that cacao can fill fine lines, boost elasticity and prevent wrinkles and sun damage. This study, alongside plenty others provide another refreshing, natural and gentle alternative (just like bakuchiol🫶) to aggressively marketed, toxic anti-ageing ingredients.



Cacao is great for improving blood flow, which replenishes your skin cells with oxygen and nutrients (and flushes out toxins). The result of good circulation is a visibly brighter and more even skin tone, alongside the many health benefits detailed below.



Health benefits of Cacao

Heart and brain health

Flavonoids and antioxidants have a long list of incredible qualities, but they are most renowned for their ability to improve brain and heart health. By promoting blood flow and relaxing your arteries, consuming cacao can prevent blood clots, reduce blood pressure, arterial stiffness and improve brain function. Recent mental health studies show that by protecting from oxidative damage, cacao may combat age-related cognitive decline.

Gut health

Increasing good bacteria in your digestive system, fibre-rich cacao has the opposite effect of classic, high-fat and high-sugar chocolate bars when it comes to gut health and boosting metabolism. Unlike causing problems with weight gain, acne and cardiovascular diseases, cacao beans and nibs in their pure form can contribute to intestinal barrier integrity.

Pain management

As flavonoids are known to suppress inflammatory responses and produce nitric oxide (a molecule that also reduces inflammation), it’s no wonder that cacao is an amazing ingredient for treating acute and chronic pain, as well as helping recovery from injuries. Examples of cacao in pain management and response include reducing the severity of period cramps, treating chronic joint pain and reducing peak muscle pain intensity.

Did you know that cacao is also high in…

  • zinc to help wounds heal even faster
  • active compounds that stimulate the brain’s production of ‘happiness’ hormones
  • iron to combat tiredness (in fact, it’s the highest plant-based source of iron)
  • magnesium to aid blood pressure regulation and nerve function

Beyond Modern Cacao Consumption

When it comes to hero ingredients such as cacao, we like to pause and take a moment to learn more about their storied heritage and appreciate the ancient wisdom that continues to influence modern healing. No exception, cacao has a rich past dating back to the early Mayan and Aztec civilizations. Named ‘Food of the Gods’, it was believed to be a divine gift that was just as delicious as it was healing. Centuries later, cacao still has the same, positive impact on endless health journeys.



The Tru Take

The idea of implementing small habits that contribute to long-term health is a purpose deeply woven into Tru Skincare’s fabric - which is why we’re welcoming clients with a little dish of raw, single-origin cacao nibs as they enjoy one of our signature treatments.
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In a Nutritious Nutshell

Unlike chocolate, raw cacao beans are a wonderful ingredient for overall skin, cognitive and physical health. By regularly snacking on cacao nibs, you can boost your body’s antioxidant and flavonoid intake, ensuring improved circulation, faster healing and another layer of protection from external stressors that damage your skin.
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