What is it?
Cacao is the dried and fully fermented seed of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids (a mixture of nonfat substances) and cocoa butter (the fat) can be extracted. Cacao beans are the basis of every sweet tooth lover’s favorite: chocolate.
Raw cacao is a natural and ancient plant medicine that has been used for centuries for healing, due to its enormous health benefits for the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual body. It’s a guilt-free indulgence (in moderation) -- because it tastes good and it’s good for you, too.
- Improves cardiovascular health - Flavanols are an anti-inflammatory and heart-protective antioxidant group found in cacao, which helps lower blood pressure, improving vascular function and glucose metabolism
- Rich in Antioxidants - lowering free radicals (chemicals that can alter or damage the body) All the Sulfur - continuously building and rebuilding collagen and keratin; important for hair, skin and nails to stay strong, healthy and shiny.
- Enhances the immune system - Cacao contains Potassium, Phosphorus, Copper, Iron, Zinc, and Magnesium which strengthen the immune system, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and increases vitality.
- Detox & Nourish - the high amount of nutrients in the cacao support and nourish the body, whilst also inducing a detoxifying effect on the liver and kidneys.
- Highest Plant-Based Source of Iron - at a whopping 7.3mg per 100g. This compares to beef and lamb at 2.5mg, and spinach at 3.6mg. Note the iron in cacao is non-heme (as is all plant-based iron), so to get the maximum benefits you’ll want to combine it with some vitamin C. (source begoodorganics.com)
- Prevents premature aging - the antioxidants in cacao protect cells from advanced destruction and help this skin look healthy and youthful for longer
- Full of Magnesium important for a healthy heart and brain, it helps turn glucose into energy, enabling your brain to be clear and focused
- Alleviates depression - Cacao enables Theobromine to be released in the body. Theo-broma, which literally translates to God-Food; releases dopamine, the ‘pleasure’ hormone.
- Less Stress - Cacao’s high Valeric Acid content blocks the stress hormones, while triggering the release of “bliss chemicals” Dopamine and the endorphin Phenylethylamine. It also contains the essential amino acid Tryptophan, which increases production of Serotonin, an important brain chemical that helps us remain positive and happy.
- Moderates pain perception - Anandamide is a type of lipid (oil). Anandamide results in feelings of euphoria, but also plays a vital role in moderating pain perception and the memory of pain, as well as assisting in regulating appetite and mood.
WHAT ARE THE TRADITIONAL RECIPES IT IS USED FOR?
Mole Poblano - The most popular dish that epitomizes the Maya chocolate tradition is called ‘Mole Poblano’ commonly known as turkey and chocolate or chicken and chocolate. Mole is famous because of the use of extra dark chocolate as the sauce.
Mayan Chile Chocolate Elixir- Mayans were known to lightly sweeten their chocolate and mix it with herbs, spices and chili. This “Mayan Chile Chocolate Elixir” recipe perfectly resembles the type of drink the Mayans made.
SOUNDS LIKE A POWERFUL BEAN. IS IT USED FOR ANYTHING ELSE?
The ancient Mayans loved it so much, they created a ritual around it. Learn more about the Cacao Ceremony here.