Cacao is one of the most powerful superfoods known to mankind and has been used by humans since ancient times as both food and medicine. It was considered sacred by the ancient Maya and Aztec cultures, who consumed it regularly to increase mental capacity, enhance physical performance, reduce inflammation, and boost energy levels. In recent times it has been proven to have many additional health benefits including reducing blood pressure, lowering blood sugar levels, and even helping with weight loss by suppressing appetite and increasing metabolism.
Cacao played a significant role in Aztec culture. In fact, in some Mayan regions, cacao beans were used as currency or even served as drink to welcome strangers or honored guests. Cacao was also used during rituals to honor gods, thanks them and ask their blessing for good health, fertility, and prosperity. Drinking cacao was considered by many indigenous cultures around Mexico a gift from God, who wanted to reward humanity with chocolate due to their loyalty. According to Aztec legend, cacao was discovered when an ancient woman named Quetzalcoatl traveled into one of the highest mountain peaks, where no other people had ever gone before. There she met with one of her gods who gave her a cocoa pod that she later planted on her journey back home.
For thousands of years, cacao beans have been harvested in Central America as a source of food, medicine, and luxury. To varying degrees depending on elevation, cacao was eaten with corn, beans, squash, avocado, peanuts, and chili peppers.
In modern times, cacao is more often consumed in what we’d call chocolate. But up until a few hundred years ago, cacao was not used as an ingredient—it was eaten on its own. That didn’t really begin to change until European explorers brought back cocoa beans from their travels to South America in 1510.
The cacao industry is growing every year, but it can still be hard to know where to start. If you’re just getting into using ceremonial grade cacao, you can get more information by clicking the following link https://pluscacao.com/category/cacao-ceremonial-grade/.
main photo: unsplash.com/Fernando Andrade