If you’re like me, chocolate is your go-to grab when you’re down in the dumps or need an excuse to celebrate. With so many flavors of chocolate to choose from, there are endless possibilities to get chocolate wasted.
What gets confusing, however, is when there are different chocolate sources: cocoa vs. raw cacao. I know what you’re thinking: you can’t just rearrange letters of an already existing word, cocoa, and claim it’s the newest trend. What is raw cacao, and why should I choose it over my already existing love for cocoa?
For starters, raw cacao is the chocolate referred to as being “good for you.” The not-so-good chocolate is the highly processed stuff that you can find anywhere, like the no-name chocolate bars left at the bottom of your bag after trick-or-treating.
The two chocolate sources look very similar, so the best way to tell the difference is by looking at the list of ingredients. There is, however, a difference in how each chocolate source is processed, and that affects the benefits you get from each.
Your classic cocoa is essentially raw cacao, but it has been roasted at a high temperature. This roasting transforms the molecular structure of the cocoa bean. With this transformation, there is a reduction in the nutritional value and enzyme content of the chocolate.
Alternatively, raw cacao is produced from taking cocoa beans and cold-pressing them. This process removes cocoa butter, the fat, while still allowing the cocoa’s live enzyme to remain intact.
Now that you know the difference between how the two are made, it’s important to consider the benefits raw cacao brings to the table – or more importantly, your body.
Raw cacao is the purest version of chocolate you can eat. It’s a great antioxidant and known to reduce insulin resistance, blood pressure, risk of stroke and risk of cardiovascular disease.
Raw cacao may also enhance your mood, protect your nervous system, shield your body against toxins and protect your nerve cells from damage. As if that wasn’t enough, cacao is a great source of cholesterol-free saturated fats, mono-saturated fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, carbs and protein.
When it comes to choosing your chocolate, make the right choice and you’ll have the perfect excuse to chow down on everybody’s favorite sugary snack. You could even go the extra mile and cook with raw cacao – just add it to smoothies or use it to make a tart base.
You don’t even need to travel to Wonka’s factory to find this magical ingredient. Raw cacoa can be found at any health food store, your local Bulk Barn or a high-end food market such as Whole Foods. You can also purchase the product online through various websites.
No matter your chocolate choice, we can all agree that chocolate comes from cacao, which comes from a plant, so technically, chocolate is a salad.
Chocolate addicts, you’re welcome.