Cacao - Ingredient Spotlight
C A C A O
Scientific Name: Theobroma Cacao
Alternative Names: Cacao Tree, Cacao Bean, Chocolate Tree
Native to South America, the cacao tree was first domesticated 5,000 years ago. The beans from these trees are picked and go through limited processing. They ultimately become the cacao powder we are more familiar with.
Due to their rich nutrient content, cacao beans are known as the ultimate Amazonian superfood. They are rich in Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, which your body converts into the brain's "happy chemical", serotonin. This can help fight depression and reduce anxiety.
Their rich antioxidant content means that they can help lower your risk of many cancers, diseases and ageing. Did you know that cacao contains 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries?!
Furthermore, the high level of magnesium and flavonoids in the beans help lower inflammation in the body, boosts your immune system and regulates blood pressure.
For these reasons, the raw powder is one of the key ingredients in five of our best-selling products:
Cacao vs Cocoa, What's the Difference?
The two are often confused and used interchangeably in conversation. However, they are vastly different in terms of their nutrition content.
The reason why is because although both are derived from the same tree, they go through different processing which ultimately affects the end product. They differ in nutrition, depth of flavour and cost.
For both, the harvested beans are fermented for a few days. They are left to develop their flavour before they are dried. Cocoa is then roasted at a high temperature. This is where the change in nutrition happens as roasting the cocoa causes the beans to lose their antioxidants, enzymes and minerals including magnesium and iron.
On the other hand, cacao is the purest form of chocolate. Compared with cocoa, cacao contains 126% more iron, 149% more magnesium, and 136% more potassium!
Other Amazing Benefits of Cacao:
Additional important benefits of the raw beans include:
- Helps lower cholesterol levels as well as lower the risk of diabetes
- Improves blood flow in the body which can further help lower heart-related issues
- Reduces the risk of a stroke
- May help suppress appetite which can help control weight
- Can help treat prolonged asthma
Vitamins & Minerals
The superfood is rich in magnesium, zinc and iron, as well as countless antioxidants.
Just 10 grams of cacao contains the following nutrients:
- Fat: 1.1 grams
- Fibre: 3 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Potassium: 198 mg
- Magnesium: 69.4 mg
- Iron: 1.5 mg
- Calcium: 23 mg
- Cacao extract can be used to fight tooth decay! A study found it could be used as an alternative to fluoride because cacao has antibacterial properties!
- In olden times, cacao was used in the making of alcoholic drinks