Cacao, A Rainforest Powerhouse!

Written by Evolve Holistic’s Intuitarian + Lifestyle Guide, Jackie Mirkopoulos.

The Cacao plant grows in the humid tropical climates around the equator, most notably Central and South America as well as West Africa. It is very important for the ecology of the rainforest and offers us the beautiful powerful nutrient packed food… RAW CACAO!

How do they harvest it?

The cacao bean takes between 5-6 months to mature. They are a year-round fruit, but most commonly harvested in the months of Sept to February as well as May and June.

What nutrients does it contain?

  • Fat

  • Amino Acids

  • Alkaloids (caffeine)

  • Calcium

  • Iron

  • Potassium

  • Magnesium

  • Vitamins


  1. 40x the antioxidants than blueberries, which is good for reducing cell and tissue damage as well as disease due to oxidative stress on the body

  2. Highest plant-based source for iron (7.3mg per 100g vs 2.5mg in beef) However, because it is a non-heme iron source (meaning it will be absorbed very slowly) you must pair it with a Vitamin C source to help absorption rate

  3. High magnesium content (500mg per 100g). It helps with bone development, digestive health, converts glucose(cabohydrates) into energy, calcium absorption and calms the nervous system.

  4. Better Calcium source than cow’s dairy (160mg vs 125mg per 100g)

  5. Natural Mood elevator. Cacao contains phenylethylamine which is a precursor to some of our “feel good” neurotransmitters such as dopamine. This nutrient compound in cacao is why some associate chocolate with being the “love drug”.

FUN FACT: Cacao was and still is used in many Indigenous cultures in Latin America. It is a heart opening plant medicine used in healing and sacred ceremonies.

I love when we can see similarities with modern science and ancient wisdom. There is no coincidence to me that cacao is a plant medicine that shamans use to heal and open the heart. And when you look at the benefits, the science behind the nutrient properties of this plant, so much relates to heart and mental health.


Cacao can be powerful on the nervous system and over-doing it can interfere with Calcium retention. We are also not promoting eating a chocolate bar every day. These benefits are from the cacao bean itself, not in processed forms.

Ways that you can add some raw cacao to your nutrition;

1) Add a scoop of raw cacao powder into your smoothie

2) Add it to your coffee

3) Make hot chocolate

4) Make homemade individual chocolates

5) Add the nibs to a trail-mix or on top of your oatmeal/smoothie bowl

Upcoming opportunities where you can learn and experience more about this beautiful gift from nature:

➡ Spice Tour – On the Adventures of Self-Care Retreat

➡ Cacao ceremony – On the the Women’s Self-Care Eco Retreat

Click the image below to learn more about the retreats: