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Learn About the History and Health Benefits of Cacao
Posted on February 15, 2014
What is Cacao?
The name of the species is Theobroma, or Food of the Gods.
The cacao bean is actually a seed and grows in pods on trees. This small evergreen tree grows in tropical climates. The football sized fruit of the tree is the cacao pods and hold approximately 30-50 seeds. To produce one pound of chocolate it takes 500 seeds, so one tree will produce enough for two pounds of chocolate.
Ninety percent of cacao is grown on family owned farms with twelve acres or less. Only about five percent of cacao grown in the world is considered "fine flavored", and of this cacao Ecuador produces sixty percent. Millcreek Cacao chocolate bars use a rare, heritage cacao called Arriba Nacional and is indigenous to Ecuador. After searching on different continents we selected this strain of cacao because it matched the flavor profile we hold in high regards. What is this flavor profile? You'll just have to try a bar.
Originating in more than 4000 years ago in central america, the cacao tree was believed to be a divine gift from paradise. Cultivated by the Mayans and Aztecs more than 1000 years ago, history shows that 100 cacao beans could buy a slave.
Eating chocolate can give a person euphoria and the same feeling as being in love. The Amino Acids (Phenethylamine, Tryptophan, Tyrosine and Anandamide) found in chocolate are what give you this ultimate pleasure.
Below we will break down some of the positive attributes found in our cacao products.
Theobromine is a substance found only in cacao and is a mild anti-depressant. It contains a mild-stimulant that builds slowly after imbibing.
Polyphenols are the same antioxidants found in red wine and green tea, so maybe eat some chocolate during a hangover, if anything it will at least provide a euphoric feeling.
Magnesium promotes muscle relaxation and makes cacao as good post work or workout snack.
Copper prevents anemia, as if you needed another reason to enjoy a chocolate bar.
Flavanols are a compound that helps prevent clogged arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease and help decrease blood pressure.