Cacao is one of our favorite superfoods, which is why we use it in many of our products. When you learn about it's almost magical properties, you will soon see why. But start by briefly tackle the history of cacao, before we dive into the health benefits of this amazing Superfood with its unique nutritional profile!
A brief history of Cacao
In Mayan and Aztec tradition, cacao was believed to have been discovered by the gods, and given to the people. Because of this, it held an important place in their ceremonies as an offering and played a role in sacrificial rituals. Cacao beans were also both a valuable commodity and a major form of currency in the Aztec empire. It was not until 1502 AD that Christopher Columbus, the 1st non-American to drink chocolate, brought back cacao beans to King Ferdinand after his fourth and final visit to the New World.
Since then, the usage and popularity of cacao gradually started to grow. In 1828 Dutch chocolatier C.J. Van Houten patented the cocoa press (a means of extracting cacao powder from the nibs) and the "Dutch process" (combing cacao powder with alkaline salts for easier mixing and reduction in bitter flavors). Several other processes were developed, such as conching (accidentally invented in 1879 by Rodolphe Lindt; conching is the process of mechanically kneading chocolate for hours to days in order to create better flavors, aroma, and texture) which have transformed chocolate into what we know today.
Cacao - the superfood of superfoods?
Nowadays cacao is arguably the most beloved of all superfoods with one of nature's most potent antioxidant profile (more than 300 chemical constituents) and anti-inflammatory effects. It has been celebrated for thousands of years for being a true brain and heart friendly food with its abundant source of polyphenols, specifically flavanols, that boost blood flow to the heart and brain and support neuron production. Additionally, cacao is also believed to boost mood and alleviate depression by reducing stress levels and increasing overall contentment.
Below we have listed just some of the amazing beneficial compounds that cacao contains:
- Magnesium - important in balancing brain chemistry and is associated with happiness and strong bones.
- Copper - helps body absorb iron and carries oxygen to the bloodstream.
- Sulfur - the “beauty” mineral.
- Iron - essential for binding oxygen to blood cells and maintaining immune system.
- Chromium - essential to metabolise carbohydrates, regulates blood sugar.
- Manganese - believed to help prevent osteoporosis and relieve PMS symptoms.
- Zinc - helps maintain a healthy immune system, essential mineral.
- Potassium - keeps muscles strong, maintains water balance.
- Vitamin C - boosts immune system and is important in collagen production.
- PEA (phenylethylamine) - the “love chemical”.
- Ananamide - the “bliss” or “delight” chemical.
- Tryptophan - essential amino acid, triggers serotonin.
- Seratonin - natural anti-depressant, mood elevator.
- Fiber - keeps weight under control, supports a healthy digestion.
- Theobromine - related to caffeine.
- Endorphins - releaesd by for example exercise. Natural pain reliever.
- Essential Fats - omega-6 fatty acids.
If we speak the same language, you are going to love our Chocolate Chakra Plantshake, with happiness boosting cacao and calming Ayurvedic ashwagandha. It is a zenful meal to keep you grounded and tuned in. All you have to do is just mix it with your choice of milk or water and enjoy.
Frothy banana/Chocolate Chakra shake
For those days when you feel like an extra treat, try this variation using our Chocolate Chakra Plantshake to put you in a state of bliss!
Makes 2 servings:
- 2 ripe bananas fresh or frozen
- a handful of fresh blueberries
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- 1 serving of Chocolate Chakra Plantshake
- 1 teaspoon of extra cacao for the serious chocolate lover (optional)
- about 3 dl milk of your choice (adjust the consistency to your liking)
Blend all ingredients until smooth and frothy. If using fresh bananas, you might want to place your milkshake in the fridge cooling it slightly!