Everyone knows about chocolate and they must love to have it in their sweet drinks and desserts.
It has become a food source since our ancient ages. For many reasons, we can now find it in millions types of foods and recipes. It is one of the most favorite foods in the world and it should be very interesting to find more information about this heavenly food.
Chocolate actually comes from cacao tree and the ancient Mayan culture is known as the first culture that recognized the use of cacao. Back then, this ancient culture made some kind of bitter-tasting beverage made from cacao beans.
In this article, you shall find more information related to the cacao tree, how to plant the tree properly and the large benefits of cacao. Should you find those topics interesting, feel free to read the following paragraphs.
Growing Cacao Tree
Cacao trees are known as evergreen plants that can grow its tree up to 6 meters high.
A number of studies have shown that cacao tree originated in the Amazon and it has been distributed to Mesoamerica and Central America throughout human history.
This tree has been cultivated in those regions for more than three millennia.
It has to be one of the most popular ancient trees in the modern world as the use of cocoa beans was found even in 1100 BC. In ancient life, the Mayans also used cacao beans as a form of currency in their daily transactions.
Most of the time, this popular tree grows properly under some kind of shade. Cacao tree finds some other bigger evergreen trees as a great place to grow in the wild. You can find plenty of this plant growing properly beneath the larger and taller evergreen trees.
You can now find this useful tree in many parts of the world and it has become a common plantation in many forests throughout South America. Plenty of cocoa tree flourish in many parts of this region including the Dominican Republic, the Orinoco river basins and the Andes Mountains.
This tree has its own flowers that are not very attractive to butterflies or bees like many other flowers from some other plants. The flowers from cacao trees need the help from tiny flies known as the forcipomyia midges to pollinate. In every ripe flower pod of the cocoa tree, you can find 20 to 60 cacao seeds.
Cacao plants can be found almost in any part of this planet. However, that does not mean that they will grow up identically and produce the same quality cacao. Cacao trees have to be planted in a specific climate condition in order to grow more optimally. The best region for a cocoa plant to grow properly is the one with 20 – 30°C temperature and 70 – 95% humidity.
The area should provide a good amount of shade for the cacao plants.
More importantly, this particular tree will grow in an area with 1,500 mm of rainfall each year.
There are many countries in this world that have all those requirements and have become great places for cacao plants to grow like Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Fiji, Haiti, Jamaica, Ivory Coast, New Guinea, Samoa, Trinidad, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Panama and Ghana.
In fact, they are known as the top producers of cacao in the world.
When it comes to growing cacao in your own garden, aside from getting quality cacao seeds, it is very important that you provide it with a suitable tropical environment. Many people in this country have realized the great benefits of cacao and for that reason, they are pretty interested in growing cacao on their own.
If you happen to live in southern Florida, southern California or Hawaii, you are welcome to grow your cacao tree outdoors. For those who live in colder areas, it would best if they grow and treat this tree as a houseplant. It is very important for you to give 1 to 2 inches of water every week. However, make sure that you can prevent the soil from being soggy.
Discovering the Cacao Benefits
Everyone must have a major concern about consuming too many chocolate especially those who have some problems with their weight. Most women are trying so hard to avoid chocolate in any form due to their worries about gaining more weight very quickly.
However, when you can separate the chocolate from all those diary and sugar ingredients, it can turn out to be one of the best super foods that the planet has to offer.
Little that you know, cacao seed or bean is home to 300 identifiable compounds which can be very beneficial to our health. Cacao is very rich in magnesium and our body requires plenty of magnesium to function properly.
Chocolate is known as a great mood enhancer and this benefit has to be related to the fact that cacao is very rich in anandamide. It also contains typtophan known as a natural anti-depressant.
Simply put, cacao contains two different compounds that come in very handy in saving you from feeling blue and elevate your mood.
If you like to have a more impressive effect, it would be best if you consume this food in its raw form.
The chromium content of cacao can be very helpful for those who like to lose their weight in a natural and safe manner.
Cacao can also help you regulate your blood sugar more healthily. Some studies have revealed that cacao has plenty of arginine that makes it an effective natural aphrodisiac.
There are many other health benefits that come from including cacao into your daily diet plan. A number of different studies have concluded that cacao is very helpful when it comes to strengthening your immune system, regulating a better and healthier circulation. It may also enhance your lifespan in this world.
Read: Dragon fruit tree and its great benefits
The benefits of cacao tree might be more enormous considering that many experts still study about this interesting plant in their labs. Some people have a great concern about the side of effects of consuming plenty of cacao. However, as long as you can consume cacao in its raw form apart from the sugar and dairy additions, there is no reason for you to fear.