C A C A O (pronounced ka-kow) comes from a Amazonian fruiting tree, found in tropical places, including Mexico and South America. It is the unfermented bean from the very first stage of chocolate making, which makes Cacao the purest form of chocolate you can eat because its raw with enzymes and no antioxidants have been removed.
So, what are the benefits of this so-good stuff?
- Cacao is considered a ‘super-antioxidant’ because it is has a high ORAC rating (measurement of antioxidant values)
- The unprocessed bean lowers insulin resistance
- A great source of magnesium which helps with calcium absorption, metabolism and protein synthesis making it a great source for muscle relaxation and stress relief (hence that girly monthly craving!)
- Cacao contains iron, potassium, calcium, copper, omega-3 EFA, and zinc. Also, amino acid tryptophan which leads to the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes joy and happy feelings!
- As a high antioxidant, it helps protect the heart, cellular damage and keeps us looking and younger and healthier
How do I consume Cacao? Here are some of my popular recipes:
People often get confused with CACAO & COCOA although they sound the same, their nutritional values and processing are quite different.
Whats the difference between Cacao and Cocoa?
Cacao is cold-pressed unroasted cacao beans from a tree, without any additions of preservatives and flavours. The cold-pressing removes any fat (cacao butter) while keeping its living enzymes. Its high in magnesium, iron and antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, but can be quite costly at approx. $7.99 per 100g.
Cocoa is the end result of highly roasted cacao beans processed with added preservatives and flavours, including sugars. Roasting removes any living enzymes, and as a result, lowers the overall nutritional value to almost nothing 😦
Now you know the benefits, how can you incorporate Cacao into your diet?
- Cacao Beans: as whole for a quick energy snack
- Cacao Nibs: add for extra crunch to your morning breakfast, desserts, granola, snacks, salads, as a sprinkle garnish
- Cacao Powder: smoothies, bliss balls, desserts, hot chocolate
- Cacao Butter: icing, on toast instead of butter
TIP: In a chocolate smoothie, try to use a diary free milk alternative like coconut or almond milk so you can reel in ALL the antioxidant benefits
Cacao is one of my favourite superfoods with acai berry- yum O! I like to use it in almost everything but BE CAREFUL, only use what is said in the recipe or ½ tsp – 1 teaspoon if your making a smoothie, as the taste is extremely strong! The last thing you want to do is spit out a glass of chocolate smoothie into someones face because you’ve put too much Cacao in!.. Although, that would be quite hilarious and worth a million bucks caught on camera!