Cacao powder is wonderful food to use in our diet. Most people know of it as the beans used to make chocolate. The beans come from the cacao plant called Theobroma cacao. The name comes from the Greek word ‘Theos’ meaning ‘God’ and ‘Broma’ meaning ‘Food’. Hence, cacao is called the ‘Food of the Gods’.
Cacao powder is often considered a ‘superfood’ because it is incredibly rich in nutrients including protein, fats, carbohydrates, iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium. By incorporating superfoods or nutrient dense foods into our diet we greatly nourish our body. It is a pretty easy prescription for increasing health – adding something that tastes like chocolate into our diet!
There exists some confusion between cocoa and cacao powder. Cocoa is the Anglicised way of spelling cacao. As interest in the nutritional properties of cacao has grown, a greater distinction between cacao and cocoa has been made. Cacao is now promoted as ‘raw’ which means it has a greater nutrient profile. Cocoa powder is generally heated in processing and hence has a lower nutrient profile.
Health Benefits of Cacao
Antioxidants: Cacao contains a higher antioxidant status than blueberries and goji berries. Antioxidants help protect the body from free radical damage. It is a wonder for anti-aging!
Phenethylamine: Cacao contains phenethylamine which is related to beneficial mood effects and is the reason chocolate is often associated with LOVE!
Magnesium: Cacao is a wonderful source of magnesium which is beneficial for all aspects of health. Some of its roles include energy production, muscle relaxation and cardiovascular health to name a few!
Cacao Powder in the Diet
Another easy way is to replace your morning cup of coffee with a cacao drink. Try 1-2 tsp of cacao with hot water, milk (coconut, oat, rice or homemade Cashew Milk) and a little stevia to sweeten if desired.