Cacao – the Most Delicious Superfood!
What is Cacao?
Cacao powder is raw unprocessed, chocolate, that is full of nutrition.
It is powdered right from the chocolate beans, with all the heart healthy fat, and micro-nutrition.
Cacao Powder is considered Healthy Raw Chocolate! Unlike the processed version (like chocolate bars), it is raw, and high in nutrition. Because of this it is considered a superfood!
Where does Cacao come from?
Cacao, and all chocolate, comes from the beans of the cacao tree.
Cacao pods are large, hard, football shaped pods. They hold several soft beans that contain our beloved food – chocolate!
Cacao vs cacao
Cocoa is PROCESSED, from the cacao bean. The beans are heated and separated from the natural fats.
This process reduces calories slightly, and the roasting, intensifies the flavor. But the nutrients are lost.
Raw Powdered Cacao is quit different from Cocoa or milk chocolate, even though, they start from the same plant.
It is richer and creamier because it retains the natural fats.
It is made by cold-pressing cocoa beans.The process keeps the micro-nutrients and living enzymes, intact. Heating is what destroys them.
Cocoa powder is cacao, that has been roasted at high temperatures, removing the fat (cocoa butter).
As the process continues, dark chocolate and milk chocolate are produced.
Then, they add ingredients (such as, milk and sugar) to create multiple confections. It tastes good, but has little or no, health value.
Cacao is “chocolate in the raw”.
Cacao powder (pronounced – ka-cow) specifically refers to the raw, unprocessed form, that has its original nutrient value. In its raw state it is so high in nutrients, it is called a Superfood!
In its raw state it is so high in nutrients, it is called a Superfood!
What are the health benefits of cacao?
Cacao contains many beneficial nutrients.
- Unsaturated fats – important for the cardiovascular system and the skin.
- Vitamins – high in B vitamins. These are necessary for nerves and brain function.
- Trace minerals – needed in small amounts, but are often lacking in the modern diet.
- Antioxidants – help protect us from cancer and premature aging.
- Iron which enriches the blood and can improve energy.
- Chromium – needed to balance blood sugar. Many people are chromium deficient, due to such a processed diet.
- Flavonoids – antioxidants found only in plants.They help to reduce free-radical damage. This helps to protect our body from premature aging and disease.
- Magnesium – often deficient in the modern diet. It feeds the nervous system and helps to reduce stress. Magnesium can also help with elimination.
- Sulfur – needed by the body tissue, including the skin, muscle and bones.
- Fiber – necessary for a healthy digestive system, and sorely lacking in the modern diet.
So what’s the down side?
Cacao contains both caffeine and a caffeine – like substance, called theobromine. Both can be can be stimulating. This can be beneficial for mood and energy, but not for sleep.
Each person is unique in their sensitivity.
From all my reading on this famous bean, I have found that there is more caffeine in cocoa and chocolate, than cacao.
NOTE: There seems to be a dispute, whether there is actual caffeine in cacao at all.
What is agreed upon, is that it does contain theobromine, that can be stimulating and good for energy.
There is caffeine in chocolate, but not in the fat in cacao.
Because the fat is removed in making cocoa, cocoa has more caffeine.
SO drink this amazingly delicious drink, and enjoy the heart benefits.
Note: Keep to about 1 tbsp. of this delightful gem during the day, and enjoy your chocolate!
Great ways to enjoy the benefits of Cacao!
1) Raw cacao powder, (click on the image at the top, to read more, or purchase). is quite bitter, and needs sweetening to be palatable. Use healthy sweeteners, such a
- stevia (a naturally sweet plant used in small amounts)
3) OR, for a solid treat, add some coconut oil and sweetener. Pour over banana slices, and strawberries. Freeze. These are wonderfully delicious snacks.
4) Chocolate Green Superfood combination, by Amazing Grasses (above).
Get the value of cacao and green superfoods in one scoop! And it tastes good in water.
I always wish you the best, as you explore the bounty of nature!
If you enjoyed this blog, please leave comment below. I love hearing from you!
Disclaimer: These are my personal experiences, opinions and research. I am not a health practitioner. Please, check with your Dr. or appropriate practitioner, when making any changes to your diet.