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All About Cacao

All About Cacao

Cacao beans are inherently sugar-free, gluten free and contain between 12-50% fat.

There is no evidence to suggest that their consumption will lead to obesity.  I’m excited to share with you all that I know about cacao.


Criollo: The finest variety of cacao beans, cultivated in South America, comprising 5-10% of the world’s cacao production and having a creamy, strong taste.

Forastero: The most common variety found in 80-90% of the world’s commercial cacao, not considered to be high-grade.

Trinitario: Cultivated almost exclusively in the Antilles, a hybrid of the two other varieties, comprising 10-15% of the world’s production. It has a fruity aroma and is strong and spicy.

Recipe Ideas

  • Mix cacao nibs with fresh fruit and yogurt.
  • Add cacao nibs to ice cream as fine chocolate chips.
  • Eat cacao nibs straight, one bite at a time.
  • Add cacao to smoothies, especially coconut-based or something similar to this Antioxidant Smoothie.
  • Add a natural sweetener, such as honey, to cacao nibs and freeze them.
  • Make a raw chocolate bar by mixing cacao nibs with Yacon sweetener, the Peruvian superfood maca, coconut oil and a variety of nuts. Pour into a mold and freeze.
  • Brew with coffee or blend with maca and herbal teas for a rich, delicious beverage


  • Contains polyphenols, antioxidants, and flavonoids, which improve cardiovascular health and increase nitric oxide in the blood, leading to better blood circulation and lower blood pressure.
  • Great source of magnesium, which helps strengthen bones and is associated with higher levels of happiness. Over 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in this supplement.
  • Contains MAO Inhibitors, which can reduce one’s appetite.
  • Contains phenylethylamine (PEA), an adrenal-related chemical which is associated with feelings of love.

Enjoy cacao and let me know what you think of this post!

From my kitchen to yours,

Tina Turbin

If you have any questions or suggestions just email me at Tina (at)

About Tina Turbin

I'm a cookbook-collecting, recipe-developing paleo junkie, and I live in the kitchen. I'm hooked on farmers' markets, traveling, eating healthy, and hiking until my legs scream at me. There's nothing better than hanging out with family and good friends. I have fun and sleeping is just plain boring. Read more About Tina Turbin.

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