This glorious raw bean, derived from the Cacao plant, is truly magical. It’s the number one high energy food available in the whole wide world. Cacao is used in spiritual ceremonies to raise consciousness because of its heart opening, euphoria inducing properties. Elevate to a higher level with us as we explore the deliciousness of Theobroma Cacao.
The Cacao bean itself is a large pod that grows on tall jungle trees (called Theobroma Cacao) found in the tropical rainforests of South America. Very generously, this tree constantly bears fruit. Its oval pod grows from between 6 to 10 inches long, with bumpy ridges, and is purple, yellow, green or reddish in color. Inside these pods about 20 to 60 Cacao seeds, or beans, can be found. These seeds are then dried to become Cacao in its raw form. In this incarnation Cacao is quite bitter, similar to the taste of unsweetened Cocoa powder.
The Chronicles of Cacao
Cacao has been making people feel awesome for millennia. Today we usually see it manifested as an adulterated version in chocolate bars where most of the nutritious goodness has been processed out of it. However, real Cacao has a history as rich as the food itself.
Theobroma Cacao trees were cultivated by various cultures of Mesoamerica as far back as 1900 BCE. The Olmecs are the first recorded culture to have grown it. The Aztecs used the beans as their main form of currency (while gold was simply used for decoration) and valued it for its aphrodisiac qualities. The Aztec lord Montezuma reputedly served thousands of cups of Cacao during his banquets, and the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés observed that “a cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.”
The Mayans revered Cacao as a sacred plant, using it as a tool for deep contemplation and to experience euphoric states of consciousness where they could commune with the gods. They believed it was given to them by a deity, the plumed serpent Cucumatz, and that humans were made from Cacao. They paid tribute to this beautiful bean through rituals and immortalized it on ceramics depicting Mayan elders drinking Cacao in liquid form. The word Cacao is thought to have emerged from either the Mayan word “Ka’kau,” or the Aztec Nuhuatl word “Cacahuatl”.
The transcendental nature of Cacao was later recognized by Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus, the inventor of binomial nomenclature (giving plants two latin botanical names). In 1793 he gave the Cacao plant the name Theobroma Cacao, meaning “Cacao, food of the gods.” In the 1700’s a British physician, Hans Sloane, came across the Cacao drink whilst on a colonial visit to Jamaica. Unable to palette the drink in it’s original form, he mixed it with milk. He would later go on to sell this bastardized concoction to the Cadbury family.
Cacao’s Captivating Characteristics
Cacao possesses an abundance of organic chemical compounds and special properties that account for its powerful bliss inducing and medicinal qualities.
Complex and Deep
Raw foodist and superfood expert David Wolfe says Cacao is the most chemically complex food ever studied, consisting of over 1,200 constituents of flavor. To give you some idea of it’s sophisticated composition, the next most chemically complex food is royal jelly, with between 300 and 400 constituents.
Cacao is the food with the highest number of antioxidants, exceeding every other high antioxidant food many times over. Antioxidants are molecules that protect our DNA from the damage done by oxidizing substances, which promote longevity and anti-aging, as well as improving heart function and blood circulation. A study conducted by various Italian Universities found that the antioxidant properties of Cacao may protect against tumours, can reduce the risk of diabetes, and do promote healthy skin.
Rich in Flavonoids
Flavonoids protect against cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. A study by Harvard Medical School found that the Kuna people living on the coast of Panama had almost nonexistent cases of these modern lifestyle diseases, and longer lifespans than their mainland counterparts. This may be attributed to the fact that they consume up to 5 cups of flavinol-rich Cacao each day.
Rich in Magnesium
Of all foods, Cacao is the number one source of magnesium. Magnesium is needed to assist hundreds of biochemical reactions that take place in the body, including blood flow, energy production, protein synthesis, and nerve and muscle functioning. It also helps your muscles relax and regenerate.
Rich in Other Essential Minerals
Rich in Vitamin C
Raw Cacao has the highest vitamin C content out of all nuts and seeds, and is one of the highest vitamin C possessors of all foods. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that repairs organic tissue and protects against heart disease and various cancers.
High in Fibre
Cacao is a great source of fibre, necessary for good bowel health, supports digestion and helps to remove waste substances from the body.
Also known as the bliss molecule, anandamide is an endorphin that is remarkably similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana. Anandamide is made by the body after working out, and it’s one of the reason’s eating Cacao makes you feel fantastic.
This chemical compound causes the release of endorphins in the brain, and is the source of the true claim that eating Cacao creates the same feelings as when we fall in love. PEA is also known as “the love molecule.” It’s no coincidence that people give chocolate as a gift on Valentine’s day. The phenylethamines lose their potency when heated, so all processed chocolate is missing this incredible substance.
Tryptophan is a mood boosting essential amino acid and one of the few foods it can be found in is Cacao. It is a precursor to the production of the feelgood neurotransmitter serotonin.
Produced in the brain when you consume Cacao, Serotonin has antidepressant effects which improve mood and the ability to deal with stress.
A special compound known as a methylxanthine found in Cacao that stimulates the nervous system, fighting fatigue, and has antibacterial properties that promote oral hygiene. Theobromine widens the blood vessels and stimulates the heart, promoting good cardiovascular health, and has been used to treat angina pectoris, arteriosclerosis and hypertension. The increased blood flow caused by consuming Cacao sends oxygen and nutrients to the heart and brain, which can heighten the senses.
A New Culture of Cacao
The euphoria inducing qualities of Cacao are being recognised by partygoers and event organisers around the world. Raw Cacao is being taken at club nights as a substitute for drugs like MDMA and ecstasy, (which also increase serotonin levels in the brain), but Cacao offers all the exhilarating benefits of chemical substances without the potentially harmful side effects and energy comedown. (And it’s completely legal!) Now party people get to enjoy music all night long, share transcendent bliss with complete strangers and load their bodies with nutritional goodness.
Cacao’s high nutrient density and medicinal qualities are well recognised. A huge body of scientific evidence supports Cacao’s awesome ability to treat high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Coupled with its consciousness lifting, love increasing properties, Cacao is a superfood that deserves a special place in your heart. Thank you Theobroma Cacao, we love you.
Spread the Goodness
Every single awakened individual has a role to play in creating global change. By sharing this article on your favourite social media channels you speed up the process of conscious co-creation. Your actions do make a difference. If just one more person reads this article they receive the gift of the increased health and harmony of plant-based nutrition and they might even share some of their delicious cacao with you. Share this knowledge now, then find a raw cacao treat to nibble on.
[expand title="Sources and References"]
Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future by David Wolfe
Cocoa Bioactive Compounds: Significance and Potential for the Maintenance of Skin Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4145303/
Flavanols, the Kuna, Cocoa Consumption, and Nitric Oxide https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3835452/
Cocoa and Cardiovascular Health http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/119/10/1433.long