CACAO

THE FOOD OF THE GODS

BENEFITS OF CACAO

Today, cocoa is most famous for its role in chocolate production. However, modern research has revealed that it contains important nutrients. Cacao is rich in flavanols, a plant-based antioxidant. Studies have shown support for a wide range of health benefits from reducing tiredness and fatigue to improving heart health, cognitive function, and regulating blood pressure. It's rich in magnesium flavanols, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, manganese, and other benefits.

Reduces Inflammation

Reduces Inflammation: Flavonoids are a class of antioxidants that are abundant in both cacao and cocoa powder. Flavonoids inhibit pro-inflammatory enzymes in the body, meaning that they have a widespread anti-inflammatory effect.

Good for Brain & Nervous System

When we consume cacao, it stimulates our brain to release hormones known as endorphins, which in turn trigger our brain's "reward system" and also promote a feeling of positivity. It is also one of the best food sources of magnesium, which is essential for energy production that is needed for a healthy brain and nervous system.

May Reduce High Blood Pressure

Cocoa, both in its powdered form and in the form of dark chocolate, may be able to help lower blood pressure. Notably, this effect was first noted in the cocoa-drinking island people of Central America, who had much lower blood pressure than their non-cocoa-drinking mainland relatives. 

WHAT IS CACAO TREE?

The cocoa tree, also known as "Food of The Gods" with Theobroma cacao being its scientific name, grows in tropical environments within 15–20 degrees' latitude north and south of the equator. Primarily, the main cocoa-growing regions are Africa, Asia, and Latin America. According to history, cocoa is thought to have first been used by the Maya civilization of Central America. It was introduced to Europe by Spanish conquerors in the 16th century and quickly became popular as a health-promoting medicine.

Did you know 70 percent of the total world production of cocoa is from Africa?

Cocoa tree was introduced in Africa in early 1800. In West Africa, cocoa is mainly grown by smallholders who traditionally planted their cocoa at random under thinned forest shade. Cocoa cultivation is characterized by a low input cultivation system that uses forest soil fertility and the existing shade. Essentially, this simple method provides about 70 percent of the total world production of cocoa.

At present, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana are the largest producers, followed by Nigeria and Cameroon, respectively. According to historical sources, Tetteh Quarshie introduced the cocoa crops to Ghana in 1870 (a pre-independence Ghanaian), which today constitutes one of the major export crops of the Ghanaian economy.

The cocoa tree takes up to four years to mature, after which it produces fruit in the form of elongated pods, and has a capacity of yielding up to 70 fruits annually. In terms of color, the pods, or cherelles, range from bright yellow to deep purple. Normally, the fruits take about six months to ripen to a length up to 35 cm and a width at the center of 12 cm.

PUBLISHED CACAO RESEARCH

Cocoa production in West Africa, a review and analysis of recent developments NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, Volume 74-75, 2015

De Araujo QR, Gattward JN, Almoosawi S, Silva Md, Dantas PA, De Araujo Júnior QR. Cocoa and Human Health: From Head to Foot--A Review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016;56(1):1-12. doi:10.1080/10408398.2012.657921

Ried K, Fakler P, Stocks NP. Effect of cocoa on blood pressure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;4(4):CD008893. Published 2017 Apr 25. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008893.pub3

Sokolov AN, Pavlova MA, Klosterhalfen S, Enck P. Chocolate and the brain: neurobiological impact of cocoa flavanols on cognition and behavior. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013;37(10 Pt 2):2445-2453. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.06.013

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