The Cacao Tree
The cacao tree, also known as Theobroma Cacao or the cocoa tree, has been around since ancient times. They are native to the Amazon basin in South and Central America where they still grow wild in the rain-forests. The cacao tree has also been introduced as a crop plant into many tropical African and Asian countries.
Cacao trees were introduced to West Africa in the 1800s, as the hot, humid climate around the equator provides the perfect conditions for cultivation. West Africa now provides over 70% of the world’s cocoa supply, with up to 90% grown on small family farms.
The cacao tree is spindly and relatively small in size, growing between 4-8 metres tall. It lives up to 100 years old and bears fruit for about 25-30 years. It is part of the evergreen plant family and its seeds (cacao beans) are used in the production of cacao powder (lightly processed cacao beans), cocoa powder (processed to higher temperatures and often with added milk or sugar) and chocolate.
Cacao fruits: harvesting the pods
The trees start to bear fruits (cacao pods) when they are 3 years old. The pods grow straight out of the trunk and branches as well as developing from a small proportion of the trees’ pinkish-white flowers. A mature tree may produce 6,000 flowers in a year, yet only 20 pods.
Cacao trees bear 20-30 large egg-shaped pods per year, each of which are about 20cm long and ripen to a rich orange-red colour. The cacao tree flowers and bears fruit throughout the entire year. Growing cacao is hard work and very labour intensive, as caring for and harvesting the pods requires close and constant attention.
Cacao pods ripen at different times throughout the season so harvesting the pods is a continuous process. During peak season, pods need to be harvested every few weeks and the process is very labour intensive. In West Africa, the whole family, friends and neighbours help out!
Cacao beans: nutritious & delicious
Within each egg-shaped cacao pod there are 20-40 cocoa beans, which are covered in a sweet white pulp.
The cacao bean has been eaten as a food for centuries and is probably the most famous flavour on the planet. The edible properties of cacao beans were discovered over 2,000 years ago by the people of Central America living deep in the tropical rainforests. In the Aztec days, cocoa beans were used to make a nutritious drink that was a favourite of warriors and the elite. In the 18th century, a Swedish natural scientist Carl Linnaeus, gave the cacao tree a name in Greek: Theobroma Cacao. This literally means “food of the Gods” and is now the official, botanical name of the tree.
Rich in flavanols supporting a healthy heart
Cacao beans are highly nutritious. They are packed with flavanols, which are a plant based antioxidant. The flavanol content can vary considerably depending on where the beans are sourced and how they are processed. The beans used to make Aduna Super-Cacao are especially selected for their high flavanol levels and are gently roasted to retain the highest flavanol content available. When consumed daily, Aduna Super-Cacao is scientifically proven to help support healthy blood flow.
Blood flow isn't always the first thing on our minds when we consider our health, however, it is crucial to the successful function of all our organs. The circulatory system is responsible for transporting nutrients, water and oxygen to every cell in the body through a complex network of blood vessels, arteries and capillaries that would be 60,000 miles long if laid out flat!
Healthy blood flow is needed for the heart, brain, muscles, skin, eyes, digestive system and more to work properly.
As we age, our blood vessels lose their elasticity so supporting our circulatory health becomes even more essential.
Aduna Super-Cacao helps to maintain the elasticity of blood vessels and contributing to normal blood flow. The flavanols in Super-Cacao support normal:
- Cardiovascular health
- Elasticity of arteries
- Healthy blood circulation (great for those suffering from cold hands & feet!)
Find out more about Aduna Super-Cacao.
Discover How to Use Aduna Super-Cacao.
Shop The Aduna Cacao Range:
- Aduna Super-Cacao Powder is available in two different sizes, starting from just £5.99 for 100g.
- Aduna Cinnamon Spiced Cacao Super Tea - 100% natural & organic, our 'Relax' tea is a warming embrace of chocolatey cacao, spiced with gently crushed cinnamon and cardamom.
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Alternatively, Aduna Super-Cacao and our Cacao range is available in leading health and beauty retailers globally, so you can find you a shop near you on our store locator.