Cacao, the cocoa’s cousin, is the mood-enhancing, heart-boosting king in the kitchen. Learn what health benefits it brings and how you can use it.
WHAT IS CACAO?
The healthy, guilt-free alternative to chocolate, its powder is the direct product of the South American cacao bean.
Cocoa vs Cacao
In contrast to cocoa – which is bean that has been roasted at high temperatures, decreasing the nutritional value – its powder is the product of cold-pressed unroasted beans and contains living enzymes.
Widely consumed by the Aztec elites, its invigorating properties have been revered in South America for centuries.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH IT?
Don’t be fooled by its chocolatey relation; it is anything but sweet and, consequently, should be used with caution. That being said, when treated like a bitter dark chocolate, it can be used for pretty much anything you can think of.
Cooking with it
Some of the nutrients and enzymes are lost when heated, though, so nutritionally speaking it’s best consumed raw: you can, for example, sprinkle it into your favourite smoothie.
WHY IS IT GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH?
Cacao has been considered by some serious health professionals the “healthiest food in the world.” That’s a pretty bold thought, but it’s certainly chock-a-block with benefits.
Full of antioxidants
Beside its mood-enhancing properties, of particular note is cacao’s extraordinary density of antioxidant compounds.
These are heart-boosting polyphenols, which lower levels of “bad cholesterol” and thus significantly decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke.