What is Cacao?
- Cocoa beans/pod (fruit), from which cacao products are derived, come from the cocoa tree. The genus Theobroma, from which the cocoa tree species comes, originated millions of years ago in South America, to the east of the Andes. Cocoa was made as powder and population used it as a hot beverage.
- The Cocoa pod has a rough and leathery rind about 3 cm which varies with the origin and variety of pod. It is filled with sweet, mucilaginous pulp (called 'baba de cacao' in South America) enclosing 30 to 50 large seeds that are fairly soft and white to a pale lavender colour. The seeds are usually white but hey become violet or reddish brown during the drying process.
- The cocoa is powdered ground roasted cacao beans from which a portion of the fat has been removed.
- The cacao plant was first given its botanical name by Swedish natural scientist Carl Linnaeus in his original classification of the plant kingdom, who called it Theobroma ("food of the gods")
What are the health benefits of Cacao?
- Cocoa contains over 700 known compounds. And there may be much more that remain undiscovered.
- The principal interests of scientists are the antioxidant compounds. Antioxidants are compounds that plants manufacture to prevent their own cells from premature destruction due to exposure to heat, light, air, moisture and time. In the human body, many of these compounds prevent reactive oxygen species (ROS) from destroying cells and causing premature aging and disease.
- Another benefit of cocoa consumption concerns the mood since it is rich in agents that enhance the production of various feel-good chemicals in the brain, notably serotonin and dopamine. This means that cocoa possesses anti-depressant, mood-elevating properties like dark chocolates.
- March 23, 2011: Study by Harvard researchers. The analysis over 2,500 participants shows that cocoa consumption is associated with decreased blood pressure, improved blood vessel health, and improvement in cholesterol levels, among other benefits.
- Eric L. Ding, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, says the apparent health benefits come from polyphenolic flavonoids in. Those antioxidants have the potential to prevent heart disease, diabetes, to decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol among people under age 50, and to increase good HDL cholesterol.
- Consumption of flavonoid-rich cocoa did not change triglyceride levels of study participants or make them obese.
Le Bono Collection has both Raw Cacao products in several formats and brands. These range from Raw Cacao Powder, Cacao Nibs through to plain and flavoured Dark Chocolate. To view, the ranges follow our link to the LB store