You may have seen a lot of recipes asking for cacao or raw cacao or cacao powder?
What is it? Is it any different to cocoa or cocoa powder? And should I add it to my weight loss diet or healthy eating plan?
The answer is yes and no.
Cacao and cocoa both come from the cacao bean. In the Hispanic speaking world, cacao is the only word used to describe cacao/cocoa.
Cocoa is an English word. With the rise in popularity of raw cacao in the Western world, the word cacao is being used to be able to distinguish it from what we think of as cocoa or cocoa powder.
So what is the difference?
To create what we think of as cocoa or cocoa solids, cocoa butter or cocoa powder, the cacao bean is dried and fully fermented. The cocoa solids and cocoa butter is then extracted and separated. Cocoa solids (so without the fat) are then roasted into cocoa powder.
Cacao powder or raw cacao is most often cacao beans which would have been dried and fermented but do not go through the extraction or roasting phase. They will simply be shelled and crushed into ‘nibs’ or ground down into powder.
So how does this make this product any better for your then the cocoa or cocoa powder?
The argument is that because it is less adulterated, it is more pure. Extraction and heat processing are two processes which will degrade the availability of certain vitamins and minerals which are sensitive to processing.
The other point is that when you add cocoa powder into a baked item, as it has been extracted from the cocoa solids (which is the fat), then you have to add ‘other’ fat back into the baked good to compensate.
Whereas when using cacao powder or raw cacao, not as much fat would have to be added back as the fat is intrinsically inbound within the cacao.
Cacao in its raw form is very high in antioxidants, phyto-nutrients, beta-carotene, niacin, protein, calcium, zinc, iron, copper, sulphur, potassium and magnesium.
In the raw foods community many people believe in raw cacao, or raw chocolate as a superfood for health and vitality.
How can you eat it?
You may have seen some smoothie recipes with it. We have added into some of our Healthy Mummy Smoothie Recipes too.
Or you could make a special hot chocolate like this (you could even put a tablespoon of the Healthy Mummy mix in as well!)
Special Cacao Hot Chocolate with a bit of heat
- 2 tbsp. raw cacao powder
- 1 tbs of chocolate Healthy Mummy Smoothie mix.
- 1 tbs honey
- a pinch cinnamon powder
- a pinch cayenne pepper
- a pinch ginger powder
- 200ml of milk
Over the stove, add in the milk and slowly add in your ingredients stirring gently as you go.
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