Cacao Vs. Cocoa
Although health magazines are always raving about the amazing benefits of antioxidant-rich chocolate, they’re always referring to raw cacao – not just your average snickers bar. So what exactly is the difference between cacao and cocoa?
Raw cacao is the unrefined version of the cocoa bean; keeping its high content of antioxidants, magnesium, fibre and living enzymes. It’s considered a superfood, due to its potent nutritional value and is used widely in healthy baking, due to it's rich chocolatey taste.
Although cocoa is similar in appearance, it has been processed and roasted at high temperatures; reducing the nutritional content. Store-bought cocoa powders are also often packed with added refined sugar to keep it sweet. It is cacao powder which is usually found in store-bought goods and traditional baking.
As well as being full of vitamins and minerals, raw cacao powder can provide some amazing health benefits:
- Reduce risk of type 2 diabetes by lowering insulin resistance
- Aids in protection of the nervous system
- Reduces risk of stroke and high blood pressure
- Protects against free radicals due to high levels of antioxidants
- Boosts mood due to a release of a brain chemical, which makes you feel happy
Fact: research into the antioxidants, found in raw cacao, indicates that dairy inhibits absorption! If you’re pairing your raw cacao with a liquid, opt for a non-dairy milk such as almond milk or oat milk to get the full antioxidant hit.
So how do you incorporate this amazing food into your diet?
Raw cacao powder is totally interchangeable with cocoa powder, so you can swap out the old for the new in traditional baking recipes. Raw cacao powder is also widely used in smoothies, raw desserts, porridge, cookies or stirred into coconut yogurt or coffee for a deliciously rich chocolate flavour. Most people find that raw cacao is much more bitter than cocoa powder, but adding a little natural sweetener will help you out.
Do you have a favourite raw cacao recipe? Comment below!
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