Do not mistake Cacao for their more well known sibling Cocoa, because Cacao should be praised in it’s own right due to their incredible benefits and high antioxidant levels. Here you can learn so much more about the history and use of this incredible ingredient that has a sole purpose of bettering your mind, body and soul.


Cacao is an ingredient that has gained divine status not only by health food fanatics of today but by ancient Meso-American cultures dating back 4000 years ago such as the Aztecs, Izapan, Olmecs, and Incas. This ingredient was highly cherished by these ancient cultures and predominantly consumed by the elite. Cacao is definitely considered a food of the gods as it was widely believed that these delicious Cacao seeds were brought into the world by ancient deities. Cacao seeds were the centre of rituals, ceremonies, festivals and celebrations and were also used as a form of currency in trade, and tax. 

Cacao was a versatile ingredient adopted by these ancient groups with it being used in a variety of ways. Cacao was largely used in recipes due to their delicious chocolatey and slightly bitter flavour profile, but were also incorporated in drinks and breakfasts in order to give it a boost of flavour and energy. 

The first estimated exposure of the Cacao seed to Europeans was believed to have taken place during a dinner between the Aztec emperor, Montezuma, and Spanish conquistador, Cortés. Following this encounter during the early 16th century, the Spanish brought back and introduced Europe to Cacao which was met with wide adoration. However, once Cacao was introduced to these European civilisations it was introduced to advanced technologies that transformed the way it was consumed. It was also paired with other complimentary ingredients such as sugar, and milk which led to the formation of chocolate.



Over the years Cacao has undergone various transformations and have been manufactured to cater to different commercial needs and demands. The ingredient has been paired with other ingredients that transform the flavour profile from a naturally bitter flavour into one that is sweeter. Cacao is widely consumed in a variety of products and in various formats ranging from Cacao Powder, Cacao Nibs and Chocolate variations, each of which are incredibly delicious and deliver the benefits of Cacao in a versatile way. Although Cacao is able to deliver incredible benefits, Cacao’s ultimate spiritual and health powers are unlocked when consumed in its purest and naturalist form. 

Despite the fact that the original format that the Meso-American cultures consumed Cacao has become infrequent overtime due to Western methods and tastes, it is, however, a topic of current interest. Modern research and studies into the origins of this superfood has increased in prevalence largely in the fields of health, pharmaceuticals and beauty in order to gain greater understanding into the benefits generated by this extraordinary ingredient on the mind, body and soul. 

Fun Facts about Cacao 

1. Cacao is literally translated as ‘Food of the Gods’

The official Latin name for the Cacao tree is Theobroma Cacao which translates to Food of the Gods. Theo = God and Broma = Food.

2. Cacao delivers many health benefits 

Cacao is packed with high levels of antioxidants called flavanols. These flavonoids are key in reducing blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and help reduce risk of diabetes. It also helps improve hair, and skin appearance as well as help battle skin conditions such as eczema and acne.

3. Cacao was used as currency

Within Mesoamerican tribes, namely the Maya and Aztecs, Cacao was highly prized and valuable, and were used as a form of currency. Often Cacao seeds were used in trading animals or equipment. For example: 100 Cacao beans were equivalent to one turkey.

4. Limited production lifespan

Impressively, Cacao trees have a lifespan of 200 years however they are only able to produce quality pods for 25 years.




  • Cacao Facts From A to Z: 26 Things to Know. (2021). Retrieved 20 September 2016, from
  • History of Cacao. Pure Kakaw. (2021). Retrieved 21 September 2021, from


About the Author 

Gabriella is a University student studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing and International Business at USYD. She is passionate about health and fitness and follows a ‘semi-vegetarian’ diet – a less restricted diet fuelled with all the essential nutrients from whole foods and the occasional inclusion of selected meats. She is keen to learn how to implement sustainable measures in her life and lead a more eco-friendly life