Cacao, is the primary ingredient in the product we have come to know as …chocolate. Which is a watered down version of the good stuff, mixed with sugars, milk, spices…nuts, fruits and anything else which is NOT CACAO!
I will fill you in on why exactly cacao is so good, but lets have a bit of history shall we? Hmmm, Four score and twenty…Uhmmm…In 1492 Columbus sailed the ….Oh yeah.
The earliest known use of Cacao was around 1400-1100 B C E in Puerto Escondido, Honduras according to archeologists and science. The pulp was used to create a bitter alcoholic,(5%), mixture which was primarily consumed by royalty and used in religious ceremony.
Aztecs and Mayans both used the pulp of the bean mixed with honey, herbs and flowers …even red pepper for their upper class libation. In fact, so revered was this concoction that, Aztec King Montezuma drank his 50 servings per day, in gold goblets which were summarily tossed out after each use!
Cacao was even used as currency in the Aztec society. Property and slaves were bought and paid for with with this amazing bean. It was also the first form of tax payment.
Although Columbus carried some cacao back to Spain with him, he never knew the true value of what he had. It was not until the early 1700′s that this wonderful food/medicine could be afforded by any but the most wealthy.
As a rule, I believe that all foods can and do have certain medicinal properties. Cacao,( It wasn’t Chocolate until Europe and North America got involved), is a very worthy plant.
It raises Serotonin levels and along with another of it’s constituents “phenylethylamine” creates a relaxed form of shall we say, well being and passion.
There is another constituent of cacao called Theobromine first discovered by Russian Scientist Alexander Woskresensky, which is a mild alkaloid similar to but weaker than caffeine.
Theobromine not only exhibits a relaxing affect on the smooth muscle of the bronchial tubes, it also has mild diuretic properties found to be useful in combination with other medicines for the evacuation of accumulated body fluid in cases of heart failure.
In today’s chemical rich environment where cancer is running rampant, cacao could be considered a super hero of food.
A study of about 8,000 Harvard graduates revealed that eating dark chocolate( with no milk properties), can raise serum antioxidant levels by as much as 20% and up to 4 hours per incident.
Studies done at the University of Pennsylvania suggest that dark chocolate containing 60% or more cacao, have the same antioxidant value as Gallic Acid. Furthermore, containing Tannins and Phenols it’s antioxidant value supersedes that of red wines,(I always knew I loved those two together for a good reason).
Additionally, consuming this level of cacao not only lowers LDL cholesterol, but raises the amount of good HDL as well. There is also a dose of magnesium to ward off Hypertension.
It always entertains me when I walk around with my extreme dark chocolate, or raw cacao nibs, offering it to the people in my proximity and waiting for the usual response of,”no, I don’t wanna ruin my diet”…this always makes me smile.
The truth is, the type of chocolate that the vast majority of humans consume is what I classify as useless SHLOCK…the waste product of good cacao, mixed with an abundance of sugars and milk fats…as addictive as heroin and just as bad for you in the long run. So when someone offers chocolate to the average person, they just perceive it to be fattening. Its so much more and so much less.
Understanding our foods is the key here. It is not the cacao in chocolate which is the problem. It is everything else added to it that ruins the wonderful natural cacao taste and destroys the awesome healing properties of this beautiful food/medicine.
So then, to the world at large I sing with a big voice,”Into Each Life Some (Real) Chocolate Should Fall”:)
Thanks for reading.
Steve Lynch, LMT, AAS/Holistic Health, CTE, Trainer firstname.lastname@example.org