If you're looking for a superfood that is delicious, nutritious and has many health benefits, look no further than cacao powder! Cacao powder is a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, magnesium, and iron, among other nutrients. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and cardiovascular benefits. In this blog post, we will discuss more health benefits of cacao powder and how to add it to your diet.
History of Cacao
Cacao powder is made from the bean of the cacao tree, which is native to Central and South America. The ancient Maya and Aztec cultures were some of the first to use cacao beans in their food and religious ceremonies.
Cacao beans were so valuable that they were used as currency! Cacao was a symbol that meant abundance and was once deemed to be only a privilege the rich could enjoy.
Are Cacao and Cocoa the Same?
The terms cacao and cocoa are often used interchangeably, but there is a big difference between the two. Cocoa powder is made from roasted cacao beans while cacao powder is made from raw, unroasted beans.
Both cacao and cocoa are good for you, but cacao supplies monounsaturated fats, cholesterol-free saturated fats, minerals, vitamins, natural proteins, carbohydrates, and protein. But cocoa is a processed chocolate products with added sugars compared to real raw cacao, which has no sugar – which makes it the better choice.
Is Cacao Real Chocolate?
Cacao is a pure form of chocolate, the real natural and original chocolate. It is raw and has not been processed as cocoa has. Cacao is one that has special phytonutrients, which means it is packed with magnesium, sulfur, and antioxidants.
Cacao and cocoa are different things. They both originate from the same place, but the way they end up and the processes they go through have different nutritional benefits. It's the processing that is the difference.
Most studies that explore the links between chocolate and real health benefits are not talking about the chocolate you find at the stores.
Is Cacao Powder Better Than Cocoa Powder?
Cacao powder has more health benefits than cocoa powder because it is less processed and has more antioxidants. Cocoa roasted, which reduces the number of antioxidants.
Cacao powder is also a good source of fiber while cocoa powder is not.
Does Cacao Taste Like Cocoa?
Cacao has a more bitter taste than cocoa. The main reason for the difference in taste is that cocoa is roasted while cacao is not. The roasting process brings out the natural sugars in the cacao bean, which makes cocoa sweeter.
Another big difference between cacao and cocoa powder is the color. Cocoa powder is darker because of the roasting process while cacao powder is a light brown color.
Why Is Cacao Good For You?
Cacao beans have rich supplies of copper, zinc, and phosphorus as well. Cacao powder has more antioxidants than wine, tea, goji berries, and even blueberries.
It's the flavonoids in the cacao that takes it beyond superfood status. But if you want the health benefits of cacao powder, you'll need 100% pure cacao from the beans themselves.
According to a study in 2011, there are over 100 uses of cacao powder for health and wellness. Here are our top ten:
10 Health Benefits of Cacao Powder
1. Nerve and Muscle Health
Cacao powder is good for muscles and nerves because it is rich in magnesium. Magnesium keeps your heart rate steady and enhances the functioning of your nerves.
2. Supports Weight Loss
This may sound too good to be true because cacao is high in fat and calories. Except cacao powder has plenty of fiber and that makes you feel fuller.
Don't confuse junk food chocolate bars with the real thing. It's not. There's not much dietary fiber in chocolate bars, but just one one of cacao nibs has 8 grams of fiber. Cacao is not a super-food for nothing.
3. Mood Booster
Cacao naturally contains a chemical called anandamide – from the Sanskrit word for BLISS. It also contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that the body uses to produce serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood.
Cacao also stimulates the release of oxytocin, known as the “love hormone” because it helps to promote sociable and calming behavior.
4. Healthy Looking Skin and Nails
Cacao powder is rich in vitamins and minerals. It also contains high amounts of essential nutrients and vitamins like riboflavin, calcium, and thiamine to improve the glow and texture of skin and nails.
(More here on How To Grow Strong Fingernails )
High in antioxidants, cacao powder helps to prevent the formation of free radicals saving your body from harmful consequences.
5. Reduced Risk of Stroke and Coronary Disease
Because cacao is full of phytonutrients, free radicals get absorbed which could cause stroke and heart disease. Studies prove cacao benefits insulin resistance, blood pressure, platelet, and vascular function.
6. Lower Blood Pressure
There's a strong relationship between cacao powder and blood pressure. Studies show people who regularly consume cacao powder have low rates of cardiovascular problems. Cacao powder is full of antioxidants and nutrients that were shown to help lower blood pressure and improve heart health by improving circulation and protecting you against clots.
7. Reduced Risk of Cancer
The antioxidants known as flavonoids in cacao powder can help to protect cells from damage and reduce the risk of cancer. The darkest part of cacao has the most amount of flavonoids.
Cacao powder has loads of flavonoids, potassium, and polyphenols. Flavonoids help to reduce inflammation in your body. Lower inflammation may decrease your risk of some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer's disease. Potassium has been proved to reduce body inflammation and stress on cells.
9. Lowered Cholesterol
Studies have found Cacao powder can lower cholesterol levels by reducing LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol.
10. Improved Brain Function
Cacao powder has been shown in studies to help improve cognitive tasks because of its magnesium content. It also increases blood flow throughout your brain-boosting nerve tissue responsible for regulating body functions like muscle movement or vision.
How To Get More Cacao Into Your Diet
As you can see, cacao powder has many health benefits. If you are looking for a superfood diet, cacao powder is a good choice. You can add it to smoothies, oatmeal, or baked goods.
The exact amount of cocoa powder you should include in your diet to achieve health benefits is unclear. The European Food Safety Authority recommends 0.1 ounces (2.5g) of high-flavanol powder or dark chocolate containing at least 200 mg of flavanols per day for heart disease prevention.
Uses for Cacao Powder
Brew a Cup of Chocolate Milk
Add 1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder to your cup, pour in cow or plant-based milk, and sweeten with maple syrup.
Make a Smoothie
Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of cacao powder to your smoothie to make it taste great. You can experiment with combinations to see what you like. I like to add almond butter and banana for a Cacao Chocolate Almond Smoothie. Yum!
When you are craving something chocolate, make fudgy brownies from real cacao powder. You can substitute cacao powder for cocoa powder in your favorite brownie recipe.
Which Cacao Powder is Best?
The best cacao in the world comes from Peru because it has the ideal species, soils, and climates for growing.
I recently had the chance to try out Cacao Bliss, and it did not disappoint!
Cacao Bliss uses ceremonial-grade cacao. This means the cacao beans are never roasted. Instead, they are harvested by hand, sun-dried, and gently ground to a fine powder. It is supercharged with more amazing superfoods to help support your body and mind:
- Turmeric lowers inflammation, promotes joint health, and relieves sore muscles.
- MCT oil helps support weight loss and curb cravings
- Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants and helps you break down sugars and imitate the activity of insulin in your body.
Please promise me one more thing… You won’t hesitate to ask me questions in the comment area below. I’m here to help you out and I would love nothing more than for you to be the healthiest and happiest version of yourself possible. Let me know if you need anything and I will be sure to get back within “hours” most of the time.
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The information presented here is in no way meant to serve as medical advice. It is merely information and opinion. All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or health care provider. If you are experiencing symptoms of any kind, please consult with your physician.