Nicknamed “black gold” by the Spaniards, raw cacao powder and cacao nibs boast very high antioxidant ratings, higher than goji berries, acai berries and blueberries, which are also great sources of antioxidants. Cultivated by the Mayan and Aztec civilizations, cacao was so rare it was used as currency and given as gifts on special occasions or religious ceremonies. The Aztecs blended their chocolate with chile, vanilla and honey.
For hundreds of years, cacao was used to improve digestion and stimulate kidney and bowel function, as well as a treatment for anemia, fatigue, fever, low sex drive, respiratory troubles, poor appetite and low breast milk production. Ground cacao beans were mixed with oil or butter to treat skin conditions. Today, you can find cacao in beauty aids and skin moisturizers—and of course, in the chocolate confections we all love. Enjoy raw cacao nibs for a nutritious, vegan snack to get the taste of chocolate without the sugar!