"Theobroma Cacao": Food of the Gods!
Although no one knows exactly when the first person experimented with turning the beans from a cacao pod into an invigorating drink, there is linguistic evidence that the ancient Olmecs of Mexico prepared chocolate.
By the 8th century AD, the Mayans were carving images of a cacao God on ceremonial bowls.
The Aztecs, later the dominant culture of Mexico, considered cacao a gift from the Gods.
"Theobroma Cacao": a scientific name that links two ancient cultures a world apart.
"Theobroma" is from the Greek and translates to “food of the Gods”. The name was given by Linnaeus in 1735 who designated the tree.
"Cacao" is the Mayan root word retained by the Spanish colonizers of Mesoamerica to describe the tree and its products.
Chocolate has been an enjoyable part of people’s diets and has been used as medicine by various cultures throughout the ages.
In recent years, scientific evidence has begun to indicate that the nutrients, phytonutrients and fatty acids found naturally in cocoa may be associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
mild, non-addictive stimulant found in raw cacao, believed to treat depression.
help fight free radicals that can build up due to exposure to environmental pollutants; Antioxidant helps reduce the risk of developing certain cancers.
Both antioxidants and theobromine can improve blood flow, support healthy functioning of heart and reduce thickening of arterial walls and plaque build-up.
Theobromine can also improve mental and physical well-being by stimulating central nervous system, dilating blood vessels, increasing energy levels and relaxing tense muscles.
Other benefits offer include reducing PMS and menopause symptoms.
The levels of antioxidants in raw cacao are higher than that of green tea and red wine.
Fiber content in cacao can help digestion by increasing digestive enzyme production. Fiber content keeps you feeling full for longer. This controls appetite and helps promote weight loss.
Essential Fatty Acids such as oleic acid found in cacao can lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol levels. Oleic acid also possesses antioxidant properties and can fight free radicals. It can strengthen cell membrane integrity, boost memory power, improve functioning of the heart, circulatory system and brain, increase energy levels, help with weight loss, reduce inflammatory conditions like arthritis, help to moisturize the skin and more.
Minerals especially magnesium found in raw cacao promotes heart health and is essential for proper brain functioning.
Tryptophan and anandamide are other brain-boosting minerals found in cacao.
Vitamins found in raw cacao benefit the cardiovascular system. They have antioxidant benefits and promote longevity.
Nutritional Value of Cacao
The cacao bean is full of antioxidants, fat, carbohydrates, protein, polyphenols like flavanoids (antioxidants), minerals like calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, iron, zinc and potassium, oleic acid (a heart-healthy essential monounsaturated fat), fiber and vitamins E, B2, B1, B5, B3 and B9.
There are also small amounts of vitamin A, and C in raw cacao.
The maximum nutrients are found in raw cacao beans before any kind of processing.
Raw cacao nibs and beans offer the best health benefits since some of the nutrients are destroyed when they are processed into chocolate. They can be eaten raw, powdered and made into tea and included in various foods.
Raw Organic Cacao Powder (1 ounce)
- Calories – 120
- Calories from fat – 23
- Total fat – 2.5g (4% DV)
- Saturated fat – 1.5g (7% DV)
- Sodium – 20mg (1% DV)
- Total Carbohydrates – 19.0g (6% DV)
- Dietary fiber – 7.0g (28% DV)
- Protein – 5g
- Calcium – 4% DV
- Iron – 16% DV