Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Cocoa and Cacao? For your body... the answer is: a lot!
Whilst the flavour of Raw Cacao is a lot richer, less sweet and more complex, the main difference for your body is the nutritional content. The key is in the processing methods used. Both varieties come from the cocoa bean. The cocoa pods are picked from trees and the cocoa beans are dried. Cacao is made from the raw beans, uncooked and unprocessed whereas cocoa has been heated and processed which results in many of the nutrients being lost. In comparison, raw cacao holds onto an excellent array of antioxidants, minerals and other nutrients which is why we've included it in our Multivitamin Breakfast Toppers and Cacao Protein Pancakes!
Cacao is an excellent source of antioxidants, with higher levels than red wine, goji berries and conventional store bought dark chocolate. The antioxidants found in cacao are easily absorbed, which means you’ll benefit more from the nutrients.
What are antioxidants and what do they do in our bodies?
Antioxidants are like the police force inside our bodies. They are protective substances floating around helping us by lowering our risk of stress related diseases, heart disease, cancer, poor immunity, Alzheimer’s and premature aging of the skin.Other good food sources: Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Cacao can be a good source of Iron, in addition to a varied diet of course. The iron content tends to vary a lot from brand to brand so check the labels. Iron is a common deficiency especially for menstruating women and pregnant women so it’s good to eat a wide variety of iron rich foods, and every bit counts.
What does Iron do in the body?
Iron is needed to make haemoglobin, a component of red blood cells which carry oxygen to every tissue and organ in our bodies. If you’re iron deficient you may feel tired and weak, have difficulty concentrating and/or a decreased libido. None of that sounds fun!
Other good food sources: Cashews, Sunflower seeds, Green leafy vegetables, and Red meat.
Along with iron, magnesium is a very common mineral deficiency in Australia. 50 grams of cacao powder can contain as much as 60% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium though again, this varies from brand to brand so check the labels.
What does magnesium do in the body?
Magnesium is vital for normal heart function. It plays a key role in brain function and when there’s an abundance of magnesium the brain can function with clarity and focus.
Other good food sources: Almonds, Cashews, Wholegrains, Eggs, Parsnips, Kelp.
Ok... Not really... But research has shown cacao can improve well-being and overall mood. We know that eating chocolate makes us feel good by releasing endorphins, but eating processed milk chocolate often leaves us feeling tired and drained when we come down from the sugar high. If you skip the heavily processed, sugar packed varieties of chocolate and choose raw cacao products instead you'll avoid this feeling and still get all the feel good benefits. So tuck in!
Where to buy raw cacao?
Have you made the switch to raw cacao? What are some ways you're adding it to your diet? Share them with us in the comments below.
*Image sourced from Women Daily Magazine
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