The Real Difference Between Cocoa and Cacao

That burning question that seems to come up oh so often… What is the difference (if any) between cocoa and cacao?

CacaoCacao vs. Cocoa

Raw cacao powder is made from unroasted cocoa beans that are cold-pressed to ensure the active, beneficial enzymes remain intact. While cocoa looks just the same as cacao, it is not. Cocoa powder is made when raw cacao is roasted at high temperatures and chemically processed, disrupting the natural molecular structure, reducing the amount of active, healthy enzymes and lowering its nutritional value.

Not only does raw cacao taste deliciously decadent, it is a real superfood that boasts superior nutritional properties and should be added into your diet with no guilt… Just good old chocolatey goodness! Check out some of the amazing health benefits of this fave superfood of ours below:

Cocoa vs. CacaoRich in Minerals

Raw cacao powder offers up significant amounts of iron, magnesium and potassium, all important minerals with specific health-boosting properties. In fact, cacao is the richest plant-based source of iron you’ll find, with more than double the amount of iron than beef, lamb and even spinach! The type of iron found in cacao is non-heme iron (as is all plant-based iron) which you will want to combine with vitamin C in your diet to gain the greatest possible health benefits. In addition to iron, cacao is also one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium. Magnesium has an abundance of health-boosting qualities including relief from muscle pain/tension, promoting sound sleep, providing mental clarity and more.

Mood Booster

Cacao has natural mood-boosting compounds, such as anandamide and theobromine, that help level out mood imbalances and even give you a little natural high feeling. Anandamide plugs into the “bliss” receptors in your brain, stimulating feel-good endorphins to be released… Bliss. Theobromine helps wake up the senses to provide increased energy and clarity in the mind. It also aids with healthy circulation by promoting the dilation of blood vessels. This is particularly beneficial for keeping your whole body warm during those colder months of the year.

Antioxidants Plus!

Cacao powder is super rich in antioxidants, little gems that help keep each and every body cell in prime working condition. Cacao is one of the richest sources of flavanols, antioxidants that have been linked to improved health of blood vessels, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and more. Studies have shown that a hot cacao can provide twice the amount of antioxidants compared to a similar serving of red wine, two to three times the amount when compared to green tea and almost five times the amount of antioxidants compared to black tea.

Hint: Always look for cacao powder that is organic and has been cold pressed to preserve all its vital nutrients. Matakana Superfoods Organic Cacao Powder is our choice for cacao powder, sourced from Criollo cacao; the original, rarest and finest heritage variety of cacao, sustainably harvested from ancient groves in remote areas of Peru. It is considered to be the best tasting of all cacao varieties… YUM!

MSF Cacao Powder

To learn more and to shop for Matakana Superfoods raw superfood powders, including the Organic Cacao Powder that featured in the August Delight Box, follow this link here xo