The cacao tree is native to Latin America. While the fruits are edible, cacao seeds are the part of the plant used for sipping chocolates. The first recorded uses for cacao describe a frothy, bitter beverage fit for warriors and kings. The Olmecs began this tradition, which was later adopted by the Mayans and Aztecs.
- Cacao trees prefer hot, rainy tropical regions
- Africa leads cacao production, followed by Asia and Oceania and the Americas
- The Ivory Coast and Ghana produce approximately half of the world’s cacao
A Few Health Benefits
- Happiness in a bar: cacao contains phenethylamine (for releasing endorphins), anandamide (a bliss compound), and serotonin (a mood-boosting brain chemical).
- Heart Protector: flavanols in cacao are anti-inflammatory antioxidants that may reduce the risk of stroke and improve blood circulation.
- Beauty food: Sulfur in cacao may contribute to shiny hair, strong nails, and liver and pancreas function support.
- Increased metabolism: cacao may reduce the stress hormone cortisol and work for a better gut.
- Cacao’s nutrient and mineral levels are on par with more well-regarded counterparts. It can rival blueberries for antioxidants, is one of the best plant-based sources of iron, and has more calcium than cow’s milk.
These statements are for educational purposes only. They have not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.