The cacao bean is what all chocolate is made from. Chocolate bars get a bad rap because of the plethora of ingredients – the high sugar content, hydrogenated fats, and dairy products…not that it stops us from indulging every now and again! Chocolate in its purest form (that of the raw cacao bean) has many, many health-giving properties:
- It is the number one dietary source of magnesium – one reason why many women crave it around the time of menstruation.
- It is also exceptionally high in sulphur, the ‘beauty mineral’
- Cacao is rich in antioxidants with 2x the amount found in red wine and 3x that found in green tea
- It’s a natural anti-depressant, and an aphrodisiac
In fact, it contains over 300 identifiable compounds, making it one of the most complex foods known to man. So not only does it taste divine, it makes you feel like a goddess too!
But… What is it?
Cacao is the seed of a fruit of an Amazonian tree that was brought to Central America during or before the time of the Olmecs. Cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as a form of currency: for example, one fish was worth three cacao beans, or one avocado was worth one cacao bean! In 1753 Carl von Linnaeus, the 18th-century Swedish scientist, thought that cacao was so important that he named the genus and species of this tree himself. He named this tree Theobroma Cacao which literally means “cacao, the food of the gods”.
Cacao is a sensuous delight whose rich flavor, silky mouth feel and earthy aroma have captured the palates and imaginations of people for over three thousand years. You could make the claim that cacao is aphrodisiac by virtue of smell, taste and feel alone – though it truly works on a cellular level. The recent scientific discoveries regarding cacao’s love-enhancing components only further bolsters the amorous reputation of this blissful food. Cacao and all of its benefits are truly matters of the heart!
Want to incorporate cacao into your diet or daily routine? The superfood (of the Gods!) is primarily available in raw powders – but you can also purchase cacao in bean form.
Power Packed Green Smoothie
- 1 cup fruit of choice (I always add berries)
- 1/2 banana
- 1 cup packed greens of choice
- 1 tsp Maca
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric
- 3T soaked Chia
- 2 cups liquid (Coconut water/nut milk)
- 1T Cacao
- 1 scoop Protein powder (optional)
- Add sweetener (Monk fruit, Stevia, Raw Honey) to taste
- 4 ice cubes
Place all ingredients into blender and blend into a smooth puree.
Mayan Cacao Coco Balls
- 1 cup dates soaked in a little warm water and puréed
- 1 cup ground Almonds or Almond butter
- 1/3 cup Cacao
- 1/3 cup Cacao nibs
- 2tbsp ground Chia
- 1/4cup Coconut Oil
- 1/4Cup raw desiccated Coconut
- 1/4tsp Cayenne
- 1/4tsp Vanilla
- 1/4tsp Cinnamon
- 1-2 drops Orange oil (optional)
- Cacao powder for rolling
Mix all ingredients together and hand roll them into bite-size chucks!
All super food recipes are adapted from Katy (part of our Swell Bliss Team) and Everessence Nutrition,
Speaking of Central America… Have you ever tried Mole?
To learn more about Cacao’s Agents of Bliss and Love, click here!