Pure unroasted cacao is a rich natural source of magnesium, iron and chromium- known to improve the body's response to sugar, improving insulin resistance and blood sugar control. Theobromine can help dilate constricted blood vessels, increasing flow and reducing blood pressure if it is high. One of the most noticeable and immediate effects of eating pure cacao or dark chocolate is an increase in heart rate, a positive lift in mood and an energizing feeling over the entire body. Remember to always drink sufficient water while consuming cacao products.
Cacao is harvested from the fruit of the cacao tree and is the basis of chocolate. Due to its many natural properties and multiple uses, cacao has been cultivated for thousands of years by the mesoamerican civilizations distributed throughout Mexico and Central America. The elite men of the Aztec and Maya societies consumed cacao primarily in the form of a frothy beverage, during ceremonies that would grant them energy and power and in rituals to appease their deities.
The first europeans to “discover” chocolate were the Spanish in 1519 when Cortés met with The Aztec Emperor Moctezuma in Tenochtitlan. Later on in 1544 a Mayan nobleman named Kekchi Maya was brought from the Americas to meet King Phillip where he formally presented the frothy cacao beverage of the gods to Spanish court. Within a century, chocolate had made it to the rest of western europe and England. Demand grew quickly leading the French to set-up plantations in their Caribbean colonies and the Spanish in their South American and Philippine colonies.
Today we consume cacao mostly in the form of chocolate- mixed with sweeteners to reduce the natural bitterness of the flavour. Traditional beverages made with cacao are still consumed in Central and South America and can be prepared quite easily.