Potential Health Benefits of Drinking Cacao
Cacao is the raw form of chocolate and is made from the beans of the cacao tree. These beans are rich in a variety of compounds that contribute to their unique flavor and potential health benefits.
Here are some of the key properties of cacao:
Antioxidants: Cacao is rich in antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, which are substances that help protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. These antioxidants may help lower the risk of heart disease and improve blood flow.
Minerals: Cacao is also a good source of several minerals, including iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper. These minerals play important roles in maintaining overall health and well-being.
Caffeine: Cacao contains a small amount of caffeine, a stimulant that can help boost mood and mental alertness. However, the amount of caffeine in cacao is typically much lower than in coffee.
Theobromine: Cacao also contains theobromine, a compound that is structurally similar to caffeine. It is a mild stimulant and it also can help dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow.
Phenethylamine(PEA): A compound that is found in cacao beans, it is a natural compound that is similar to the amphetamines and it is thought to be responsible for the feelings of euphoria and pleasure that can be experienced when consuming chocolate.
Fat and Fiber: Cocoa beans are also a good source of healthy fats and fibers which can help with digestion and may help lower cholesterol.
It's important to note that many of the beneficial compounds found in cacao can be lost or reduced during processing, such as roasting, so raw cacao or minimally processed cocoa powder or chocolate is considered to have more potent nutritional properties and health benefits. This is also why we do not recommend hot or boiling water in preparation of Creator.
Origin of Cacao
The origin of cacao (Theobroma cacao) is believed to be in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America. The ancient Mesoamerican cultures, such as the Maya and Aztecs, were among the first to cultivate and use cacao as a food source. They used it to make a bitter, spicy drink called xocoatl, which was believed to have medicinal and spiritual properties.
The word "cacao" comes from the Nahuatl word "cacahuatl", which means "bitter water". Cacao beans were also used as a form of currency by these ancient cultures.
The use of cacao spread to other parts of Central and South America and eventually to Europe after Spanish conquistadors discovered it in the 16th century. Today, cacao is grown in many tropical regions around the world and is used to make chocolate, as well as other food and beverage products.