Cacao and cocoa are kind of the same thing… they’re also very different! We don’t want to confuse you, but we do want you to discover the truth about their differences.
Is There A Difference Between The Two Aside From A Few Vowels?
The studies that boast of chocolate’s amazing health benefits are not referring to your average store-bought chocolate bar (damn misleading researchers). The chocolate that they’re referring to is raw cacao.
Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cacao and removes the fat (cacao butter).
Cocoa looks the same but it’s not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Sadly, roasting changes the molecular structure of the cacao bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Raw Cacao?
- Lowers insulin resistance
- Protects your nervous system: Cacao is high in resveratrol, a potent antioxidant also found in red wine, known for its ability to cross your blood-brain barrier to help protect your nervous system
- Shields nerve cells from damage
- Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduces your risk of stroke
- Reduces blood pressure
- Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease: The antioxidants found in cacao help to maintain healthy levels of Nitric Oxide (NO) in the body. Although NO has heart benefiting qualities, such as relaxing blood vessels and reducing blood pressure, it also produces toxins. The antioxidants in cacao neutralizes these toxins, protecting your heart and preventing against disease.
- Guards against toxins: as a potent antioxidant, cacao can repair the damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the risk of certain cancers. In fact cacao contains far more antioxidants per 100g than acai, goji berries and blueberries. Antioxidants are responsible for 10% of the weight of raw cacao.
- Boosts your mood: cacao can increase levels of certain neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well-being. And the same brain chemical that is released when we experience deep feelings of love – phenyl ethylamine – is found in chocolate.
- It is rich in minerals: magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese.Let’s End With An Interesting Tad-Bit.Research shows that dairy inhibits the absorption of antioxidants from raw cacao.
So if you’re making a cacao shake you’re better off using a non-dairy milk like almond or coconut in order to reap all of the antioxidant benefits. Fact!