The much touted nutritional benefits or raw cacao range from reducing cataracts to improving heart function to alleviating stress. The theobromine naturally found in raw cacao is a mild, non-addictive stimulant that some believe can treat depression. It may cause the brain to produce more of a neurotransmitter called anandamide which would account for the euphoric sensation some feel when indulging in chocolate. Not much is known about how the ancient civilizations of the Americas used chocolate, but it was certainly treasured by them for medicinal purposes. The cacao bean is rich in magnesium, an energy mineral and vital electrolyte. This super-food is also a good source of sulfur. Sulfur is associated with strong nails, shiny hair and a healthy liver and pancreas. The flavonoids in cacao prevent fat-like substances in the bloodstream from oxidising and clogging the arteries. Drinking a cup of hot cacao before meals can diminish your appetite by helping the body tune in to its natural appetite. To get the most health benefits from your cup of cacao, try using a milk substitute such as coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk or just plain water. If you have a sweet tooth, add sugar, honey or maple syrup. Drinking hot cocoa will give you more antioxidants than simply eating chocolate, because the heat releases more antioxidants.