5 Health Benefits of Cacao: Exploring the Food of Gods and its Rich Heritage

Cacao, the magical bean that enchants our taste buds with its luscious flavor, has a rich heritage. Cacao has played an important part in numerous cultures, from ancient civilizations to modern-day chocolate connoisseurs, and it is still praised for its health advantages.


Have you ever wondered how a simple bean could hold such cultural significance throughout history? What if we told you that beneath its luscious surface lies a hidden treasure trove of benefits that can nourish both body and soul?

In this blog post, we will delve into the intriguing history of cacao and look at the various ways it can benefit our health. Keep reading to find our who discovered cacao and why cacao is good for you!

Cacao and its Ancient Roots

Cacao’s story begins in the tropical regions of Central and South America, where ancient civilizations such as the Mayans and Aztecs first cultivated it. These tribes regarded cacao as a divine gift and used it in rites and festivities. Cacao beans were so valuable that they were actually used as cash.

Cacao in Guatemala

Cacao’s roots go deep in Guatemala’s enchanting soil, mingling with the country’s history, culture, and identity. Cacao has long been revered in the hearts of the indigenous Mayan people, with its cultivation and consumption playing an important role in their customs and daily life.

Dating back to pre-Columbian times, cacao was seen as a divine gift bestowed by the gods on humans. The Maya thought that cacao had the ability to bridge the gap between humans and gods by connecting the earthly and spiritual realms. Cacao was revered in Mayan mythology and religious rites, where cacao was offered as a sacred offering to the gods, symbolizing fertility, abundance, and spiritual communion.

Beyond its spiritual significance, cacao held practical value in Mayan society. It was employed not just as cash, but also as a staple food and a medicinal cure. In their agricultural landscapes, the Maya nurtured cocoa plants, carefully tending to them and encouraging their growth. The beans were picked, fermented, and dried before being ground into a fine powder and combined with water and different spices to make a frothy, energizing beverage.

The Evolution of Cacao

As the centuries unfolded, the influence of cacao extended beyond the Mayan civilization. Cacao made its way to the shores of faraway regions with the entrance of European explorers and colonizers. During the Spanish colonial era, Guatemala became a major cacao growing hub due to its good soils and pleasant climate. Cacao’s popularity expanded as it became a sought-after product in European markets.

With the addition of sugar and other ingredients, cacao was converted into the delightful pleasure we know today as chocolate. It is important to note, however, that pure, unprocessed cacao, often known as raw cacao, keeps its natural goodness and health advantages.

Health Benefits of Cacao

In the realm of natural treasures, cacao stands out as a remarkable bean that tantalizes our taste buds while offering a host of health benefits, backed by scientific research. From ancient civilizations to modern scientific studies, cacao has captivated our attention, unveiling its potential to enhance our well-being.

  1. Nutritional Value:
    Cacao is a nutritional powerhouse, including important elements such as magnesium, iron, potassium, and fiber. It also contains healthy chemicals such as flavonoids and antioxidants, which help with overall health.
  2. Increased Mood:
    Cacao includes numerous chemicals that increase the production of endorphins, or feel-good hormones. It has the ability to improve mood, reduce tension, and promote relaxation.
  3. Heart Health:
    Cacao flavonoids promote cardiovascular health by increasing blood flow, decreasing inflammation, and controlling blood pressure. Consuming dark chocolate with a high cacao content on a regular basis has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
  4. Increased Cognitive Function and Brain Health:
    Cacao’s flavonoids and antioxidants have been linked to increased cognitive function and brain health. They may improve concentration, memory, and overall mental sharpness.
  5. Anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties:
    Cacao’s antioxidants help counteract oxidative stress, lowering inflammation in the body. This, in turn, can help to reduce the aging process and lower the risk of chronic diseases.

Health benefits of cacao

How to Enjoy Cacao

  1. Dark Chocolate: Choose dark chocolate with a high cacao content (70% or above) to optimize health benefits while reducing added sugars and artificial chemicals.
  2. Raw Cacao Powder: Add raw cacao powder to smoothies, cereal, or homemade energy bars to incorporate it into your diet. This type has the maximum nutritional concentration.
  3. Cacao Nibs: These crunchy, pure cacao bits work great in baked products, trail mixes, and as a topping for yogurt and desserts.
  4. Cacao Tea: To experience the distinct flavor of cacao, steep cacao husks in hot water. Cacao tea is a delicate and aromatic beverage that may be enjoyed at any time of day.

Join a Cacao Ceremony

Cacao ceremonies provide a sacred space for people to connect with themselves, their community, and the spirit of cacao.

Cacao, the “food of the gods” as referred to by the Mayans, is prepared and consumed in a ceremonial way during these gatherings. The cocoa beans are ground into a fine powder, then carefully blended with warm water and other additives such as spices or sweeteners. This preparation is more than just consuming chocolate; it is a deliberate and intentional exercise that invites people to enter a sense of reverence and deep connection.

In Guatemala, you will find many cacao ceremonies, often held in sacred places, such as Mayan ruins or natural settings. Participants form a circle, where intentions are established, appreciation is expressed, and the transforming power of cacao is celebrated. As the ceremony progresses, the cacao’s natural components interact with the body, promoting heart opening, increased sensory awareness, and a deeper spiritual connection.

cacao ceremony

Curious to experience the magic and benefits of cacao?

Embodying the Spirit of Cacao: Cacao Dance and Movement Medicine at Eagle’s Nest

A vibrant synthesis of cacao ceremonies and conscious movement practices has arisen in recent years, giving birth to transformative events such as Movement Medicine and Cacao Dance. These gatherings provide a unique chance to experience the energizing properties of cacao in combination with the liberating power of movement.

Cacao Ceremony

Mose Cacao Dance

Cacao Dance is an exploration of movement and cacao, guided by Mose. It combines the intentional use of cacao with uplifting beats of DJ Mose, allowing us to fully embrace the present moment and let the music guide our bodies.

Read more about this event here: Mose Cacao Dance: A Transformative Journey of Liberation and Melodic Mastery

Movement Medicine

Movement Medicine is a form of movement meditation that combines dance, somatic awareness, and embodied presence. Participants are asked to explore their bodies, emotions, and spirits in a deliberate, free-flowing movement within the container of a movement workshop. Afterwards, we gather in a circle to experience the heart-opening properties of cacao.

Cacao enhances the experience, allowing for a deeper connection to the body’s wisdom and a greater sensation of inner freedom. The event continues with an ecstatic dance inspired celebration. Check our schedule to find our next movement medicine events.

Health Benefits of Cacao

Cacao unveils a world of remarkable health benefits that go beyond its delectable taste. Supported by scientific research and centuries of cultural significance, cacao has proven to enhance mood, boost cognitive function, support heart health, and provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. As we embrace the heritage and traditions surrounding cacao, we are reminded of its profound connection to our well-being. So, whether you savor a piece of dark chocolate or participate in a cacao ceremony, let the health benefits of cacao inspire you to nurture your body, uplift your spirits, and indulge in the pleasures of this extraordinary bean.

Wanna indulge in the pure bliss of ceremonial cacao? At Eagle’s Nest, we serve organic, pure and locally sourced cacao. Check out our cafe!



Written by : Laura Born

Laura is small town girl from Germany, who decided to leave the corporate world to follow her dreams. She has since then traveled the world, teaching yoga in various locations. She is a passionate writer and loves to share inspiring stories from all over the world.

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