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Some might think you’re pronouncing cocoa a little strangely, while foodies on the other hand will be singing cacao’s praises from the tree tops, leaving the rest of us exceedingly confused.

So what is cocoa, what is cacao, and what is all the fuss about? Is chocolate actually good for us?

Raw cacao powder is the result of cold-processing unroasted cacao beans. The technique is similar to other cold-processing methods, which exclude the addition of heat, so nutrients can be retained.

Cocoa on the other hand is actually roasted cacao beans that have been processed with the use of heat, therefore diminishing those health-promoting substances. We are not saying cocoa is bad for you, but when you understand the properties of cacao you will be adding it into every dish.

Cacao beans come from pods of three varieties of the theobroma cacao tree, which thrives in tropical climates. As well as utilising the beans, the inside fatty substance that lines the pod is used as cacao butter.

Nutritional highlights of cacao

Rich in minerals: Iron, chromium, potassium, copper, zinc, phosphorus and particularly magnesium.
High in antioxidants: Flavanoids are the most prominent. These protect against damage to cholesterol and the lining of the arteries as well as exerting antiplatelet activity, reducing the risk of blood clots.
Blood sugar regulation: Cacao may contribute to the reduction in insulin resistance.
Cardio protective: Cacao contains arginine, an amino acid required for the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide contributes to the dilation of blood vessels, which helps to control blood flow, inflammation and blood pressure.
Sensory stimulant: Cacao contains phenylethylamine, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of euphoria. This may explain the claims that chocolate is the food of love.

The price of cacao varies greatly compared to cocoa so be prepared for the difference, however knowing cacao’s nutritional benefits helps to explain why.

Chocolate has been tantalising and seducing people around the world since ancient times. When eaten in the right form and without excess sugar, it is something to be savoured and shared. Guilt free.

All of our posts reflect our philosophy at A Healthy View www.ahealthyview. A whole real food perspective on food and life. Extremes do not work but clean, whole, tasty and easy food choices can create a lifetime of good habits that lead to a lean, happy, and healthy person. Contact us on our website for our next Low Sugar Lifestyle program or a nutritional consult. Article by Samantha Truswell – Nutritionist.

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