Difference between Cacao &Cocoa
Cacao is the natural form of chocolate which has been not been processed while Cocoa is the processed form of cacao with high heat to make it more palatable. Through both the products are derived from cacao seeds but both of them differ in their nutritive value due to processing. The products you find is supermarket are processed and then called as cocoa which have low nutritive value except the taste as compared to Cacao. The raw unprocessed Cacao id usually bitter in taste.
Health Benefits of Cacao
- Raw Cacao contains high amount of flavonoids and believed to have 40 times higher ORAC value (antioxidant capacity) than blueberries in neutralising the free radicals and act as Anti inflammatory
- It is rich source of Magnesium and thus helps you to unwind and relax when taken at bedtime with hot water or milk . Magnesium helps to lower blood pressure and maintains cardiovascular health
- It has high Iron content close to 7.3 mg per 100 gm as compared to spinach which is 3.6 mg and beef containing 2.5 mg per 100 gm. But note that you cant eat 100 gm of cacao at one time but certainly spinach and beef can be
- It is a natural Mood and Energy Elevator because it contains PEA (phenylethalyamine)
- Most prominent Heart protective benefits have beens studied regarding Cacao consumption. In one of the study listed on American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown to improve endothelial function, reduce blood pressure, reduce LDL levels, Increase HDL levels and reduce insulin sensitivity. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/95/3/740/4576702
How to use Raw Cacao for Health Benefits?
You can use it in milk or just plain water or in smoothies. As it is bitter in taste, adding banana to smoothie or adding honey will mask its bitterness. Any non dairy milk can be used if you avoid the milk like rice or almond milk. Adding Nut butters in smoothie with honey or stevia will do the job effectively.