For thousands of years, cacao has been cultivated in Central America for its beneficial health compounds. The ancient Maya viewed cacao as a precious substance, and it was used for food as well as for religious and economic purposes.
What you may not know is how many medicinal qualities are hiding within this seductive bean. Flavanols, one of the most important, improve vascular and cognitive function and provide ultra violet protection for the skin. Cacao also has high concentration of an alkaloid called Theobromine, also found in coffee. Theobromine has stimulant properties and relaxing effects. It dilates the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. And if that wasn't enough, cacao is also rich in soluble fiber, antioxidants, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
The MAO inhibitors found within cacao allow more serotonin and neurotransmitters to circulate around the brain at the same time, increasing the feelings of happiness and joy.
Beware! Conventional supermarket-variety milk chocolate has very small amounts of cacao. Much of the world’s cacao production has undergone various destructive industrial processes to make to it shiny and flawless. Even most commercially available dark chocolate is made of cacao that has been alkalinized, heated up to high temperatures, and pressed under tons of hydraulic pressure. Unfortunately, in the quest to make the perfect tasting chocolate with a long shelf-life, it loses most of its nutrient and antioxidant strength, leaving you with unwanted sugar and fat.
This is why La ChocoTia highly recommends getting your hands on some raw Ceremonial Grade Cacao for the full delicious and medicinal experience.
What is raw cacao?
Cacao (ka·cow) is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate. These untreated seeds, referred to as cacao beans, can be considered a superfood offering a wealth of antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals.
Cacao beans are grown on small trees named Theobroma cacao, which literally translates to “cacao, the food of the gods” in Greek. Cacao is found only in wet tropical lowlands in Mesoamerica and the Amazon Basin. The tree has leathery long leaves and a wide trunk. It produces pink flowers on its trunk and branches. After pollination, the tree produces edible red-brown fruit pods. Each cacao pod typically houses between 20 and 50 cacao seeds. The seeds undergo a natural fermentation and drying process. After the drying process is completed in 1-2 weeks, you are left with raw cacao beans.
What important vitamins and minerals does raw cacao contain?
*Magnesium, and other essential minerals including calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and selenium
*Polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties
*Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
*Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
Is cacao safe? Are there any reasons why I shouldn’t consume cacao?
Cacao is very safe; however, it is not compatible with some prescriptive medication. Cacao taken with anti-depressants can lead to migraines. Please check that any pharmaceuticals you are taking do not have contra-indications. Because cacao increase blood flow, please check with your doctor if you have a heart condition. Cacao is perfectly safe during pregnancy.
Is there caffeine in cacao?
Theobromine in cacao reverses the less than ideal effects of a pure caffeine as can be found in coffee. Whereas the caffeine molecule alone is known to be a vasoconstrictor(blood flow constrictor) that can put people in a state of stress or nervous system stimulation, theobromine is a vasodilator (blood flow opener) that allows for a more uplifting, expansive feeling experienced in the body itself as a grounded energy.
La ChocoTia sources only the highest quality cacao available on the planet – Ceremonial Grade Cacao. We use a wild variety that is grown in its traditional habitat, hand-prepared by indigenous people in Guatemala and Peru.
We sustain this superior quality by maintaining a personal relationship to our source and by keeping this a small-scale operation, which makes each batch of Ceremonial Grade Cacao unique.