It is believed that Cacao was cultivated as early as 1,400 BC across South America.
The cacao tree is one most abundant trees on the planet and is the plant species from which cocoa and chocolate is derived. Cacao and cocoa are not the same. Cacao is the tree, while cocoa is the product made from it.
Edible parts of cacao pods and the beans inside are classified as a superfruit and can be used to make cocoa powder, cocoa butter, or pure chocolate after being dried and fermented. (1)
Cacao is named “Theobroma” in Latin which is literally translated into English as “food of the gods”.
- Raw cacao contains more than 300 different compounds of antioxidants, which is nearly four times the antioxidant power of the average dark chocolate and 20 times than that of blueberries. (2) When consumed, antioxidants slow down your body’s rate of aging and help to combat diseases such as lung cancer by eradicating harmful free radicals. (3)
- Cacao also contains good levels of protein, calcium, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, magnesium, sulphur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. When these elements combine they decrease LDL production (bad cholesterol), heart disease and the risk of cancer. (4)
- Cacao is also seen as a natural aphrodisiac due the formation of phenethylamine in the body. Large doses of this compound are said to be released into the brain when we are attracted to someone. (5)
- Cacao affects your emotions and mood by raising serotonin levels, which explains why chocolate is often craved in depressing times. (6)
Make sure to get raw cacao powder as your regular chocolate bar normally has been heated with sugar, partially hydrogenated oils and dairy which inhibits the absorption of antioxidants and provides very limited nutrients. (7)
Cacao Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: (100 grams), dry powder, unsweetened
|Calories from Fat||115|
|Total Fat||14 g||21%|
|Saturated Fat||8 g||40%|
|Total Carbohydrates||58 g||19%|
|Dietary Fibre||33 g||133%|
|Vitamin A0%||Vitamin C||0%|
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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