Ahhh….the lovely cacao nut. It’s latin name, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods”. And why shouldn’t it be called that!! Did you know that all chocolate is made from cacao beans (aka Cocoa beans)?
Those crazy Mayans even used cacao for currency! Crazy Mayans.
Cacao offers cardiovascular benefits and cancer protection, and also helps lower cholesterol. Raw cacao has a higher antioxidant rating than blueberries, acai, and even goji berries. It really is a superfood!
Here’s the cool part….there is no cacao season. Chocolate is always in season! Wooo hoooo!! Cacao trees trees grow in the shade, mostly in Central and South America and Southern Mexico. Their flowers have five petals with a lightly scented, pale, mushroom like growths which grow straight out of the trunk or large branches.
Did you know that you can purchase cacao trees from the internet and place them in a greenhouse? They’ll be lovin’ them some humidity….just like the crazy Mayans!
What’s in it for me?
- vitamin C
- omega-6 fatty acids
How do I use it? (via)
- Purchase raw cacao products (beans, nibs, powder, butter) and blend them into your favorite beverage. One tablespoon of cacao powder per quart works great with any beverage. Blend cacao into coffee for a special treat!
- Sprinkle raw cacao beans (nibs) on your favorite dessert instead of chocolate chips. They are the original chocolate chips!
- Add to trailmix
- If you love dark, bitter chocolate, eat the beans by themselves.
Know before you go: (via)
Raw cacao is just like most things in the world of health and nutrition- the information changes fast. You need to keep on top of the news. There are many that believe that chocolate, even in it’s purest form of raw cacao, is still not very good for you, perhaps even toxic. The stimulant quality may agitate kidney and liver functioning. Some tests find it to be addictive, leading to mood swings and other withdrawal symptoms when not consumed regularly. Sexual dysfunction has also been listed as a possible side effect of chocolate intake- yikes! Certainly you must never blindly trust the information given to you by someone who is selling the product. Conduct your own research and see what the experts are saying. Though chocolate may not be the knight in shining armor that so many of us wish it was, when eaten in moderation, it doesn’t seem to be causing too much harm either. To play it safe, consume chocolate on special occasions and look for your magnesium and antioxidants elsewhere.