Cupuaçu: Better than Chocolate?

How to Boost Heart Health and Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with This Exotic Superfruit

If you’re a connoisseur of all things heart-healthy, then you’ve probably already heard about the heart-protecting benefits of cacao, the unprocessed beans used to make dark chocolate.  A recent study found that a weekly serving of antioxidant-rich chocolate can slash your risk of a stroke by 22%.  Another study showed that you can cut your risk of heart attack in half by regularly eating dark chocolate made of at least 70% cacao.

You may already be indulging in a piece of dark chocolate a day as a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth and prevent heart problems.  But what if we were to tell you that cacao has a cousin from deep in the jungles of the Amazon that’s just as delicious and even more effective at keeping cardiovascular illness at bay?

Cacao’s distant relative contains the same heart-healthy antioxidants that have been proven to keep your blood vessels elastic and strong, increase circulation and regulate blood pressure.  But unlike cacao, this chocolaty treat is loaded with 11 antioxidants, many of which you can’t find anywhere else!

An Amazonian Superfruit

A “Superfruit” is a fruit that combines superior nutritional propertiespowerful antioxidants… and demonstrated health benefits.  Cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum), pronounced coo-pwah-sue, is a tree that grows in the fertile soil of South American rainforests—and its fruit meets all 3 qualifications!  This may be why South Americans call it…

“The Pharmacy in a Fruit”

Loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, flavonoids, essential fatty acids and amino acids, the cupuaçu fruit is amazingly versatile and has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments.  Reported health benefits include:

Weight loss
Fat reduction
Supple and radiant skin
Lustrous locks
Improved cognitive function
Increased short-term memory
Stable moods
Pain relief
Decreased inflammation
Fewer allergy symptoms
Strong immune system
Decreased heart rate
Lower blood pressure
Reduced cholesterol levels
Digestive relief
Decreased risk of chronic diseases

     Cupuaçu has been used by the indigenous people of the Amazon to relieve pain, boost energy and protect against heart disease.  The shamans use cupuaçu to relieve abdominal discomfort, and midwives use it to ease labor pain.  Perhaps its greatest gift to the western world is its ability to prevent and treat heart disease, the #1 cause of death.

Theograndins: The Ultimate Defense Against Heart Disease and Cancer

Cupuaçu contains two unique antioxidants so potent that scientists recently gave them a name: theograndins.

Theograndins have shown great promise in destroying colon cancer cells and counteracting free radical damage, a main contributor to heart disease.  Cupuaçu is also rich in vitamins B1, B2, niacin, amino acids and essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6.  Omegas not only calm inflammation (the primary cause of heart disease) but also promote youthful skin and glossy hair.  The essential fatty acids found in the cupuaçu fruit also lower cholesterol and neutralize the damaging effects of LDL (the bad cholesterol) by defending against the oxidative deterioration of lipids.

Together, the phytonutrients, antioxidants and essential fatty acids found in cupuaçu invigorate the cardiovascular system and increase longevity by neutralizing free radicals, thereby protecting the artery walls from damage and eventual heart disease.

Vitamin C and Heart Health

Rich in vitamin C, cupuaçu restores and protects the body’s C-supply, which is continually depleted by day-to-day stresses.  In doing so, it strengthens the immune system and helps fight cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin C has been shown to:

  • Dramatically decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Nurture healthy arteries and blood vessels by increasing your body’s production of collagen—a “reinforcement molecule”

Vitamin C even encourages healthy gums by protecting and strengthening your connective tissue.  Studies have shown that healthy gums are linked to lower incidences of heart problems.

Cupuaçu also contains the antioxidant quercetin, which helps sustain vitamin C levels in the body.  But your body cannot manufacture vitamin C on its own; it depends on you to feed it a fresh supply every day.

Where Can I Find This Exotic Superfruit?

The cupuaçu fruit is the size of a small melon.  The inside consists of juicy flesh and large black seeds similar to those of the papaya.  The flesh is served both raw and sweetened, and is used to make candies, ice cream, jams, tarts and juices.  The seeds are dried and ground to make a drink similar to hot chocolate but with energy-boosting capabilities.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t find cupuaçu available in your local supermarket because it only grows in the rainforests of Brazil, Peru and other countries in South America—and it is difficult and expensive to ship fresh.

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