Cacao is the seed of a fruit of an Amazonian tree that was brought to Central America during or before the time of the Olmecs. Cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as money. It has been called "the food of the gods."
Cacao beans contain no sugar and between 12% and 50% fat depending on variety and growth conditions. Cacao powder is made by removing the fatty components. Raw cacao contains hundreds of chemicals, and is high in magnesium, iron, chromium, tryptophan, and antioxidants. It also contains PEA and anandamide.
Contrary to popular opinion, cacao is a poor source of caffeine. A typical sample of cacao nibs or cacao beans will yield anywhere from zero caffeine to 1,000 parts per million of caffeine (less than 1/20th of the caffeine present in coffee).
In February 2008, Dr Gabriel Cousens discovered in clinical tests on healthy people that cacao does not elevate blood sugar in the same way as caffeine containing food or beverage. In fact, Dr Cousens found that cacao has less of an effect on blood sugar than nearly any other food.