The cacao tree is native to the Americas. It originated in Central America as well as parts of Mexico. Originally over 5000 years ago, consumed by pre-Columbian cultures along the Yucatán including the Mayans, and as far back as Olmeca civilization in spiritual ceremonies. It can be found as well in the foothills of the Andes in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America, current-day Colombia and Venezuela.
Cocoa is a stimulant and contains the compounds theobromine and caffeine.
- The beans contain between 0.1% and 0.7% caffeine, whereas dry coffee beans are about 1.2% caffeine.
- The “beans” are the basis of chocolate, as well as Mesoamerican foods, such as mole and tejate.
- Cocoa is considered to be a rich source of antioxidants such as procyanidins and flavanoids.
- Cocoa also contain a high level of flavonoids, specifically epicatechin, which may have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.
- It is believed that the improved blood flow after consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa may help to achieve health benefits in hearts and other organs.
- Foods rich in cocoa appear to reduce blood pressure
- The cacao tree is native to the Americas. It originated in Central America as well as parts of Mexico.
- The Maya believed the kakaw (cacao) was discovered by the gods in a mountain that also contained other delectable foods to be used by them.
To get optimal health benefits from cacao and add a boost to your morning, try our morning energizer when you wake up. It’s a gentle stimulant that will sharpen focus and give some pep to your step.
- 1 cup of water
- small handful of shaved cacao block (0.5 – 1 ounce if you want to measure)
- sweetener to taste
Heat water in a pot, to just before boil. Add cacao shavings and sweetener. Stir well and serve warm in your favorite mug.