Looking and feeling good is not just about what you do in the gym, but what you put in your body. We all enjoy a sweet treat now again but we also don’t want to compromise a healthy lifestyle, which is why we’ve teamed up with Sweet Deceits, who make great tasting, healthy desserts, just in time for Chocolate Week.
Here, the guys at Sweet Deceits explain the differences between cocoa and cacao, plus the many health advantages of using raw cacao in your cooking:
We use Raw Peruvian Cacao Powder in our Chocolate Fudge Brownies and Raw Caramel Slice to give them a rich chocolate-y taste with all the added health benefits.
What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa?
Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. Because cacao is raw, it retains all of the living enzymes and nutritional properties. On the other hand, cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures, which changes its molecular structure – reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value.
Why is cacao good for me?
It can reduce the risk of certain cancers. Antioxidants protect the body from a build-up of free radicals caused by sun exposure, pollution, smoking etc., which damage healthy body tissue and give rise to cancer. Cacao is one of the most antioxidant rich food in the world, therefore it can repair the damage caused by free radicals and reduce the risk of certain cancers.
It promotes a healthy heart and cardiovascular function
The antioxidant power of flavonoids which are found in cacao, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals can support a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, lowering LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and reducing plaque build-up on artery walls.
It really can make us happy
There are many components of cacao (including alkaloids, proteins, beta-carotene, leucine, linoleic, lipase, lysine, and theobromine) that all work together to improve physical and mental health. For example, theobromine helps to stimulate the central nervous system, relax smooth muscles, and dilate blood vessels, giving the body a boost of energy; ‘bliss’ chemicals found in cacao help to increase circulation and availability of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in brain, improving mood and combating depression.
It can lower blood pressure and improve circulation
Some of the components found in cacao – flavanols and theobromine – may lower blood pressure and enhance circulation by promoting dilation, strength, and health of blood vessels.
It can improve digestion
Cacao is high in fibre, which supports a healthy digestion system.
It can help us when we’re stressed
Cacao is remarkably rich in magnesium, which is great for muscle, bone, nervous system and brain chemistry. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant and it alleviates stress.
It’s great for healthy skin, hair and nails
It’s the best source of sulphur there is, which is also known as the ‘beauty mineral’, as it promotes healthy hair, nails and skin.
How to get more cacao in your diet?
Eat more Sweet Deceits! We use raw cacao powder in our Chocolate Fudge Brownies and Raw Caramel Slice…as if you needed any more excuses to indulge guilt-free!