Cacao seems to be the superfood trend of the day, with Instagram models swearing by it for weight loss and vegans adding it to everything for its health benefits. But what is cacao? Why is it healthy? And what's the difference between cacao and cocoa? We take a look.
What is cacao?
Cacao is a raw whole food made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans, which preserves all of the health benefits and nutrients of the bean. Cacao comes from large pods which come from pollinated flowers of the Theobroma cacao tree which originates in South America's rainforests. Cacao is the raw product created from harvesting these pods.
What's the difference between cacao and cocoa?
While cacao and cocoa come from the same source, they are quite different due to the way they are processed and treated. Cacao is much healthier because it is less processed than cocoa and has no additives. Cocoa is roasted at high temperatures which removes a lot of the antioxidants and nutrients and often high amounts of sugar is added. Cacao is the raw product that comes direct from the tree whereas cocoa is the processed product.
Why is cacao good for you?
Cacao is a raw food that contains natural nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and copper. Cold-pressing is a process that helps to maintain all of the natural goodness in a food and as cacao is cold-pressed, all of these minerals are maintained. Cacao also contains flavinoids which are antioxidants that promote heart health.