The cocoa bean, also called cacao are the basis of chocolate. Cocoa trees grow in hot, rainy tropical areas within 20° of latitude from the Equator. Cocoa harvest is not restricted to one period per year and a harvest typically occurs over several months. In fact, in many countries, cocoa can be harvested at any time of the year. Immature cocoa pods have a variety of colours, but most often are green, red, or purple, and as they mature, their colour tends towards yellow or orange, particularly in the creases. Unlike most fruiting trees, the cacao pod grows directly from the trunk or large branch of a tree rather than from the end of a branch, similar to jackfruit.
In general, cocoa is considered to be a rich source of antioxidants such as procyanidins and flavanoids, which may impart anti-aging properties. Cocoa is a stimulant and contains the compounds theobromine and caffeine.It is believed that cacao can improve blood flow and may help to achieve health benefits in hearts and other organs.