Cacao benefits | Cacao health | Ceremonial cacao | Keith's original writings | Keith's wisdom
This blog post is an extract from the original writings of Keith Wilson, the Chocolate Shaman. For more recent info on all things Ceremonial Cacao, visit our main blog For the Love of Cacao.
Here is a detailed list of the known benefits and uses of Pure Ceremonial Grade Cacao of the Criollo variety, which does not have the caffeine found in the hybrid varieties that comprise most of the world's Cacao, and which retains its active compounds.
We believe this is the most comprehensive list to be found on the world wide web. It is compiled from medical journals, our own experience, and those of others who have been using Cacao extensively.
Benefits and uses are listed under five categories:
• Consciousness and Spirituality
• Creativity and Learning
• Workplace Productivity, Decision Making, and Innovation
• Workouts, Sports, and Training
• Medical and Health (including a note on Cacao and Covid-19)
Although for many of us Cacao is a multidimensional being that manifests physically as the Cacao plant interested in assisting humanity through the evolutionary shift process, some need to understand Her not only through feeling and on an energetic level but also with the rational mind and with the validation of science. This section addresses that need.
Cacao has the highest antioxidant content of any food.
"Cacao is also a source of the catechins, another strong antioxidant found in green tea.” National Library of Medicine
Cacao is considered a 'superfood' and a great source of Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Sulphur, Chromium, and available Calcium.
Cacao has recently also been found to be a rich source of vitamin D2, the only form of vitamin D that comes from plant-sourced foods. Therefore, Cacao is especially beneficial in winter when sunlight on the skin is not producing much vitamin D. We hear many positive comments from our friends in northern latitudes where they get little light on their skin in winter.
"Cacao also contains a variety of essential B vitamins, such as B2, B1, B5, B9, and B5, in addition to vitamin E.” Holistic Health Collective
Cacao is famous for being high in magnesium, which greatly benefits the heart, prevents muscle cramping, and so much more.
"Cacao contains procyanidins and epicatechins, the same flavonoid phytonutrients found in red wine and berries.” National Library of Medicine
The most medically researched aspect of Cacao is its effect on cardiovascular health. Within a few months of regular use (2 or more times per day), it thoroughly cleans the deposits from your arteries, so there is nothing to break loose and cause a heart attack or stroke. There are many journal papers on this.
The vasodilation properties open and relax blood vessels, so aneurysms (exploded brain blood vessels) are rare. This works even if you are over 60 and on a high salt/fat diet. The first medical journal paper on this, reported an 8% decrease in the ratio of cardiovascular-related deaths among those consuming commonly processed Cacao compared to a control group matched for age, weight, and genetics who did not drink Cacao. Imagine what the results would have been if they had used our Cacao from which the goodies are not removed! A minimum dose of 20 grams daily of our Cacao is sufficient to maintain these benefits after a few months of higher dosage to clear the arteries.
Regular cacao use is the best cure for high blood pressure. People who consume pure Cacao daily do not have high blood pressure, even if they are on a high salt diet, are of advanced age, and are overweight. At first use, blood pressure drops only for an hour or two. Continued use for months results in a 24-hour continuous normalization. Use a higher dose for the first months and then a minimum maintenance dosage of about 20 grams of our Cacao daily.
Cacao reduces bad and increases good cholesterol. There are many medical papers on this.
In that same study, the cancer rate among daily conventional cacao drinkers was only 16% of that of the control group. Indeed, some cancers, like cervical cancer, were almost unknown. The study concluded that there is "a possible role in the reduction of angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels) in tumor growth"and that all this translates into "...a reduction of inflammation and tumor development.” National Library of Medicine
The onset of adult diabetes was only 39% of that in the control group in the above study. The research suggests that pure Cacao improves insulin sensitivity and, therefore, developing diabetes becomes less likely.
Cacao can indeed help to stabilize your blood sugar levels. There are numerous medical journal papers on its effect on diabetes and pre-diabetes. The chromium in Cacao is a powerful mineral that most of us do not get enough of. Chromium helps to improve the function of insulin to stabilize blood sugar and can also help reduce sugar cravings. Cacao is also a decent source of dietary zinc, which can help improve blood sugar stability. Unfortunately, most people today are over coppered and under zinced.
"In 2008, it was discovered that cocoa does not raise blood sugar levels the way caffeinated products do.” National Library of Medicine
We know some serious bodybuilders who take a larger dose of Cacao before getting on the machines or weights. We encourage you to experiment to find your ideal dosage.
There is increasing evidence that cacao drinkers are less likely to develop dementia, senility, and Alzheimer's. Cacao seems to preserve cognitive abilities during aging. We regularly see new medical journal papers on this.
"Cacao is a key ingredient in some brain health supplements.” National Library of Medicine
There is some research on the protection regular cacao intake provides against many chronic degenerative diseases besides those of the brain.
Natural Cacao is well-known for balancing hormones and uplifting moods, helping with PMS, etc.
"I can't tell you how much the Cacao Spirit is helping me... and I don't crave normal chocolate anymore, not even when it's my moon time! I have been addicted all my life...thank you so much for bringing her.”
Over the years, women have reported that pure Cacao can either increase or decrease their menstrual flow. Some with a temporary increase in flow report that it was more liquid, and they experienced it as a detox at a deep level.
"I have found that taking Cacao during my moon period helps with tiredness, cramping and bloating, and makes my blood more fluid, which often leads to a 'heavier' flow. Yet it does not feel heavier, but simply more watery.”
"My personal experience is that it reduces my cramps because of the magnesium and makes me softer.”
"I had cacao on the first day of my first menstruation, and it was lighter than it usually is. My first was a womb healing effect, though.”
This is how it is with pure Cacao... you will get what you need. You will go through a detox, judge it, and feel Cacao is bad for you. You will go through a detox, celebrate it, and have gratitude for Cacao as a partner. You name it, you will see it. It may never happen again. It may happen with every period. If you don't accept the teaching, don't eat the teacher.
Cacao is one of the most balancing and healing tools for the hormonal system. But if your hormone issues, as is likely, are symbolic messages from Higher Self via your body consciousness, you may experience a surge of heightened emotions and all the relevant issues surfacing so they can be worked with.
The Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors [MAOIs] and other consciousness compounds in Cacao serve as effective antidepressants. Hence, Cacao can be used to get you off antidepressants and antipsychotics, especially if you are motivated to delve into the underlying issues these medications are designed to suppress.
"…from my experience, it has seemed to remove the roots of severe long-term clinical depression. Or rather, has helped me do the internal processing of those roots…"
"Cacao has helped me process strong emotions and given me the motivation to take action on some of the neurosis."
On the other hand, we often hear that our naturally un-caffeinated Cacao is excellent to help you relax, de-stress, and drop below the surface of your monkey mind into whatever state you desire - from productivity to chill to sleep. Many praise the profound therapeutic effects on anxiety or panic that also help you get in touch with the belief systems insisting that stress and anxiety are needed.
"Cacao has both antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties." ScienceDirect
Cacao is undoubtedly an improvement over your everyday afternoon Adderall (amphetamine prescription drug) and has no depressive let-down from extended use. Years ago, I knew a stock trader on the floor who replaced cocaine with our Cacao! His wife told me that he became "better at his high-pressure job... could juggle faster in his head... got a raise... no martinis after work to come down from the coke... and faster home to his wife, garden, and kids, helping make dinner.”
We hear this sort of thing often.
"Cacao has been a game-changer... balancing my energy and mood. I have a 2year-old, so I was pretty sleep-deprived and used sugar to keep me awake. With Cacao, I have completely stopped eating other chocolate and treats."
Cacao in your system is a sunburn preventative. It takes at least twice as much sun exposure for you to burn.
Cacao increases oxygenation to all parts of the body. Studies have shown that you get smoother skin texture, improved microcirculation, increased oxygen saturation, and improved skin hydration with even a single cacao use. It has been shown to reduce the stress hormones that break down collagen in the skin.
Cacao (taken internally) is also reported to be great for acne. In our experience, people look younger after prolonged regular cacao use. In her mid-60s and a cacao drinker for 10 years, my sweetheart Barbara is regularly asked by 20-somethings what she does with her skin. Having seen old photos of her Mom at 15 years younger, I can tell you it is not hereditary!
Used correctly, pure Cacao greatly benefits pregnancy, birth, postpartum depression, and lactation. For many women, it works well for morning sickness. Our Cacao has helped many Moms find a deeper connection and love with both born and unborn children.
These are testimonials from therapists:
"Many have shared their experience, describing deeper peace, love, and connection with Self and little one."
"...she was exhausted, and she contacted us the next day to say that she had a total shift in her energy when getting up to nurse the baby at 3 am. She explained feeling love and joy instead of the more unloving emotions she had been experiencing before.”
Medical studies suggest that "chocolate consumption during pregnancy may lower risk of preeclampsia.” Reuters
In our experience, 'cacao children are different. Now it seems science agrees!
"The babies born to women who had been eating chocolate daily during pregnancy were more active and "positively reactive" – a measure that encompasses traits such as smiling and laughter.” New Scientist
Recent scientific research has established that Cacao has profound benefits on the following' newly recognized' body organs and systems:
a] Interstitium – one of the largest organs of our body, found just under our skin. It plays a vital role in how the skin looks, heals, and functions to detoxify the body. An average dose of Cacao brings 80% more oxygenation to this organ and helps keep it healthy and looking young.
b] Endothelium - an organ system, one-cell thick, lining all blood vessels and lymphatics. It is involved in a multitude of physiologic functions, including vasomotor tone, trafficking of cell nutrients, blood fluidity, new blood vessel growth, and interacting with all other body organs. It weighs an average of 1 kg and covers a total surface area of 4000 to 7000 m². When stressed, it coats itself with cholesterol, forming a layer of plaque that can break off and cause heart attacks and strokes. Cacao, over time, removes this coating and restores this organ to health.
c] Endocannabinoid system - The brain has more cannabinoid receptors than any other type of receptor. CBD and THC, the principal cannabinoids in cannabis/marijuana, mimic the body's natural cannabinoids and fit into these receptors in the brain and nervous system. Pure Cacao contains the body's own natural cannabinoid, Anandamide (Ananda in Sanskrit means bliss). Commercial chocolate processing, however, removes all the Anandamide.
"Anandamide is immune-boosting as well as neuroprotective. It has the ability to encourage neurogenesis and can help in the creation of new nerve cells which ward off anxiety."
"Anandamide is a neurotransmitter. It plays a role in pain, depression, memory, fertility, and feeling hungry… and an important but hitherto little-known role in hormonal balance and the reproductive system."
"Anandamide is important in parts of the brain that have to do with memory, higher thinking processes, and motor control. The highest concentrations in the body are not found in the brain, but are found in the womb just before the embryo is implanted."
"As far as is known, cocoa is the only food that contains [significant] anandamide." Nature.com
We hear of increasing numbers of folks adding CBD to their Cacao when making chocolates, taking both medicinal plants simultaneously, in several different ways. They work very well together, assisting each other. But, again, this is all true for Cacao which contains very little or no caffeine.
There is extensive research to suggest that pure Cacao increases the levels of neurotransmitters. These 'bliss chemicals’ are associated with the state of being in love or when you are engaged in an activity where you lose track of time. Over time, these centered states become much more frequent, with or without the use of Cacao.
From acting as an antidepressant to providing an energy boost that is much more balanced than caffeine, which (though coffee has many health benefits) fosters aggression, Cacao keeps negative mental states in check, encouraging positive ones without itself getting in the way.
"Cacao contains some very interesting neurotransmitters, sometimes called 'love chemicals,' associated with motivation and pleasure.” Scientific Learning
Cacao is one of the richest sources of pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), which is a powerful stimulator of mitochondrial biogenesis. Your mitochondria are the energy basis of all that your cells do. Pure Cacao boosts mitochondrial energy production - and thus your energy.
We have many reports of pure Cacao making a significant difference to people, both children and adults, who suffer from ADD, ADHD, autism, OCD, and similar conditions. Please note the importance of the use of pure Cacao with no caffeine, especially for children. Significant improvement in communication and social interaction, both with peers and adults, is normal. It allows a freer expression of the gifts that some of these children on the autism spectrum have, in a more balanced way, without damping them down. Again, please use Cacao without caffeine for these children!
"People with ADHD suffer from abnormally low concentrations of phenylethylamine," and pure Cacao is the primary source of it. Sanesco Health in Balance
Cacao extract has been shown to do a far better job than fluoride of remineralizing teeth and preventing the growth of the bacteria whose acids cause cavities, and of slowing the process of plaque formation. There is toothpaste with it in the market... Whole Foods carries it! We have used our sifted cacao powder to brush our teeth for 7 years. No cavities, less plaque, and tartar.
"People who brushed their teeth with cacao-extract toothpaste twice a day for one week had '100 percent dental occlusion' with their tooth dentin becoming remineralized or repaired.” Oral Health Group
The fats (Cacao butter) found in unprocessed Cacao are considered to be healthy. Although they are technically saturated, they are long-chain stearic acids and do not react in the body in harmful ways.
"Cacao contains healthy monounsaturated fats, which have their own role to play in detoxification, as well as in the immune system, and as helpers for metabolism."
"It also contains oleic acid, which is found in olive oil and has been shown to be protective against certain kinds of reproductive cancers.” National Library of Medicine
Cacao is recommended by some as an aid in losing weight, as it stimulates metabolism. Scientific experiments concur.
"Cocoa and dark chocolate supplementation reduced body weight, body mass index, and waist circumference." National Library of Medicine
Cacao has a long history of use for rebuilding the body in recovery from enervating diseases and was first used for this purpose (by Europeans, that is) on Caribbean islands in the era of sailing ships.
We know many people who have used Cacao to treat addiction or substance abuse and detox from substances such as alcohol, cocaine, and even heroin. It assists in the deeper understanding of the inner issues behind what is happening on the surface. For sure, you can use Cacao itself in an addictive manner, but it will assist you in understanding your addictive tendencies if that is where you want to go. There is no 'crash' or withdrawal, even for a heavy and prolonged user, if Cacao usage is discontinued abruptly.
"Coffee cravings drop a lot. I couldn't believe it at the beginning, for a coffee addict like me. But, oh yes, they do really drop."
"...began to share cacao in my job at a rehab center with clients recovering from addiction. The results were really astonishing and deeply moving."
Cacao helps prevent asthma attacks as it contains several compounds that work together to halt bronchospasms and open constricted bronchial passages.
The theobromine found in Cacao was found to halt coughs better than codeine or commercial cough suppressants.
Cacao is known as an anti-inflammatory. Many health researchers consider inflammation a primary cause of other health issues.
The microorganisms in your gut weigh more than your brain! I see increasing references to Cacao as an excellent prebiotic. It feeds the microbiome, the good microorganisms in your gut that play a crucial, increasingly understood role in health. Cacao contains large amounts of prebiotics and polyphenols, which are essential for the gut microbiome to function at optimum levels. Take Cacao and probiotics together - studies show that the bacteria you introduce get off to a great start.
There is some research about Cacao as a heavy metal chelator, binding and removing heavy metals from the body.
Continue reading about the benefits and uses of Cacao in blog posts Benefits and Uses of Keith's Cacao - Parts 1, 2, 3, & 4.