Do you love chocolate but worry about the high sugar, hydrogenated fats and other unhealthy chemicals loaded in it?
Despite the claims of dark chocolate’s ‘healthy’ attributes, chocolates made from cocoa have undergone chemical processes that have stripped their natural nutrients, flavonols and antioxidants. These include even the darkest cocoa powder that you use for your drinks or cakes.
Chocolates and other cacao products made from organic raw cacao, on the other hand, are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making them superior and ultimately the healthier option for you to take.
Let’s take a look at the difference between cocoa and cacao and discover the different cacao health benefits that you can take advantage of.
Cocoa Vs Cacao Powder: What is the Difference?
Both cocoa and cacao powder are actually from the same source—the Theobroma cacao, which is also called cocoa or cacao tree. This plant produces large fruits that resemble a pod. The fruits contain around 20 to 60 beans with a white sticky pulp. All chocolates that you eat, whether they are made from cocoa or cacao, are derived from these beans.
The main difference between the two is the process the beans undergo to produce the products that they are today. To make cocoa powder, the cacao beans are roasted at a very high temperature. Raw cacao powder, on the other hand, is cold-pressed and not roasted. This allows the beans to retain their nutritional value, thus making them healthier.
Cacao Health Benefits
If you are still not convinced, here are some of the specific cacao health benefits you can get when using pure cacao.
High in Magnesium
One of raw cacao beans’ benefits is their high magnesium content. Magnesium is a nutrient that is crucial to many processes in the body. This includes metabolic processes that synthesise protein, control blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and produce energy.
Magnesium is also used in muscle contraction and nerve function. People who do not have enough magnesium in their body can experience headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and weakness. In severe cases, magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramps, numbness, seizures, irregular heart rhythm and mood disorders. People with magnesium deficiencies are also more likely to develop chronic diseases.
Organic raw cacao nibs, for example, contain as much as 343 mg for every 100 g, thereby meeting your recommended dietary allowance. Meanwhile, just 50 g of raw cacao powder can have as much as 400 g of magnesium.
High in Iron
Another benefit of pure cacao is its high iron content. Iron is a mineral needed for the body’s growth and development. In essence, the body uses it to produce hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that transports the oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Meanwhile, myoglobin is a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Iron is also used to make hormones.
Your body generally needs 8 to 18 mg of iron daily. Organic raw cacao nibs have 5.14 mg of iron, while pure cacao powder has 10 mg of magnesium for every 100 g of these products.
Great Source of Antioxidants
At some point, perhaps you have also heard or read somewhere that chocolates are a great source of antioxidants. This is especially true for chocolates made from cacao, and this is one of the notable cacao health benefits.
Our bodies undergo a natural way of oxidation to help fight pathogens and reduce the risk of infections. Unfortunately, in some cases, there are imbalances in the body’s oxidation process, wherein it produces free radicals and chain reactions that potentially damage the cells in the body. Antioxidants from superfood like cacao are substances that stabilise these free radicals. They make them less reactive, thereby preventing the damage they may cause to the body.
Having natural antidepressants is another health benefit of cacao. Due to the high levels of flavonoids in the non-roasted cacao beans, raw cacao powder contains four chemicals that are scientifically known to reduce depression and lift one’s mood. These ‘happy’ chemicals are serotonin, phenylethylamine, tyrosine and tryptophan, which induce feelings of happiness, love and general wellness.
Rich in Calcium
Calcium is crucial to having strong and healthy bones. As our bodies continue to develop and create new bones, calcium is a mineral that needs to be constantly present.
However, aside from keeping our bones strong, calcium is also an important element to prevent blood clotting, help muscles contract, as well as regulate heart rhythms and nerve functions.
Cacao health benefits include its rich calcium content. While a 100 g serving of organic raw cacao nibs may only contain 71 mg of calcium, the same 100 g serving of pure cacao powder contains 500 mg of calcium. The latter is already half of the recommended dietary allowance for individuals aged 18 to 50.
Abundance of Flavonols
Raw cacao beans are rich in flavonols. Flavonols are a subgroup of flavonoids that are found in raw cacao beans. Raw cacao powder is cold-pressed and non-roasted, so it retains much of the natural flavonoids of the beans. Flavonols are beneficial to the body, especially to the brain, because they can increase focus and improve cognitive function.
Experience the Natural Goodness of Cacao Through Frido Cacao
Cocoa and cacao are often confused to be the same thing. However, cocoa and cacao are two different products due to the processes they undergo. Given that raw organic cacao is not roasted at high temperatures, it proves to be the superior alternative.
With the different cacao health benefits, doesn’t cacao deserve to be called a superfood?
Take advantage of these benefits today by ordering your cacao needs from Frido Cacao. We offer fresh and organic cacao, cacao nibs and traditional tools, including mixers and bowls. Our products will surely help you enjoy the different cacao health benefits and reconnect better with nature. Contact us for more details.