Many people mistake cacao powder for cocoa powder even though they come from the same tree, they are processed in different ways and they hold different nutritional values, when you think about cacao powder or cocoa powder then chocolate comes to mind, cocoa powder is very common and is a staple in every kitchen for baking, and raw cacao powder is something which is not very common for baking but is common as a superfood, it has a bitter taste, both have different nutritional values and are known to be good for the health.
what is cacao powder
Cacao pods are grown on the cacao fruit tree, the cacao tree is grown in Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Caribbean islands, the cacao tree is up to 8m tall and can vary in height, the leaves are up to 20cm long, the flowers are pink to white in colour, when the flowers are pollinated they produce large pods containing the cacao beans, the cacao pods are cracked open to reveal the cacao beans which are the basis of the chocolate, raw cacao powder is made by cold pressing raw cacao beans, which keeps the enzymes alive and removes the fat, the fat is the cacao butter (cocoa butter).
what is cocoa powder
Cocoa powder also comes from cacao pods, cacao pods are cracked open to reveal the cacao beans, the beans are fermented, they are dried and roasted, the hulls are removed from the beans and processed to extract the fat which is known as cocoa butter, the solids that remain are further ground into a very fine powder which is known as cocoa powder.
cacao powder nutrition
Cacao powder is full of antioxidants, it contains minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, calcium, sulfur, copper, iron, zinc and potassium, selenium, phosphorus, folate, niacin, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5 and traces of Vitamin A in raw cacao is also mentioned to be found.
Cocoa powder nutrition
Unsweetened cocoa powder contains vitamins and minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, Vitamin B6, Folate, niacin, thiamin and riboflavin.
Raw cacao powder health benefits
Raw cacao powder contains antioxidants, antioxidants are flavonoids which help to fight free radicals which are known to cause diseases such as cancer, raw cacao powder is rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin E is known to boost collagen production, raw cacao powder contains magnesium which acts as a relaxant helping to calm your nervous system, raw cacao powder contains zinc, zinc can help to repair tissues and heal skin ailments such as acne and inflammation of the skin, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B5 help to break down and release energy from the foods you eat, Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B3 keeps the skin, the eyes and the nervous system healthy. Raw cacao powder contains calcium, calcium helps to strengthen the bones and protects the cardiac muscles, raw cacao powder contains iron, iron is essential for transporting oxygen through the body, it prevents and cures anemia and it aids in inflammation of haemoglobin, raw cacao powder contains potassium, potassium is known to maintain optimal fluid balance, reduce stress levels and help to lower the blood pressure, copper present in the raw cacao powder prevents premature aging, it aids in reducing symptoms of arthritis, copper is known to maintain a healthy metabolism, it regulates the function of the thyroid gland, it is essential for the health of the hair, skin and the eyes.
cocoa powder health benefits
Cocoa powder has a great amount of antioxidants present in it, the flavonoids are part of a powerful antioxidant known as polyphenols, which fight free radicals and harmful bacteria in the body, some cocoa powder brands process the cocoa powder in such away that it loses all of the polyphenols by removing the bitterness of the cocoa powder, when I was younger, I heard someone say if you smell chocolate it will boost your brain, now I know this is due to the polyphenols, the polyphenols improve the blood flow to your brain and help your brain function. Raw cacao powder and unsweetened cocoa powder are both good for the health but unsweetened cocoa powder contains a higher amount of fat.
Beauty benefits of raw cacao powder and cocoa powder
When it comes to beauty then raw cacao powder and unsweetened cocoa powder are both known to be great for the skin, cacao is now becoming a very big staple in high end quality face products such as face masks and face serums, cacao is rich in antioxidants it protects your skin from harmful UV rays, UV rays cause aging skin, pigmentation and wrinkles, using cacao on your skin will prevent your skin from aging, cacao powder will rejuvenate any dullness of the skin leaving your skin looking bright and radiant, cacao is rich in vitamin E, vitamin E is known to boost collagen production in your skin, cacao contains zinc, zinc repairs and heals the skins tissues and can help calm inflammation acne and breakouts, there are many ways you can use cacao powder for your skin, this is an amazing chocolate face mask which I have already shared, it will give you amazing results every time you use it especially during the winter when your skin is dull and dry.
As you can see raw cacao powder and cocoa powder both have very good nutritional benefits, most of the vitamins are lost during the processing of the cocoa powder, it is still rich in antioxidants and minerals, when you buy cocoa powder make sure it is 100% cocoa powder, green and blacks organic cocoa powder is one of the best cocoa powders available in the local supermarkets and the price is affordable, raw cacao powder is rich in vitamins, it is perfect for those who are weight conscious, so next time you drink your cup of hot cocoa you will not feel guilty knowing that raw cacao powder and cocoa powder are both good for you.