Cacao beans come from South America, and is rich in iron, magnesium, zinc, and even calcium! Some studies say it reduces the risk of colon cancer, and the potential benefits from this antioxidant-rich bean are plentiful.
Cacao, or Cocoa?
There is a big difference between cocoa and cacao. There is a huge in-depth explanation of Cacao VS Cocoa on the I Quit Sugar blog, but long story short... cacao has amazing benefits, cocoa does not.
Cacao tastes nothing like cocoa, to be honest. It's a taste that many folks have to get used to; it's not necessarily something you'll love right off the bat. For best results, use cacao powder or cacao nibs, or organic super dark (70%) cacao without milk in it. Cacao has a bittersweet taste, so if you like semi-sweet chocolate chips, you're one step closer to falling in love with cacao.
So, What's the Big Deal?
Raw cacao helps lower insulin resistance, protects your nervous system, and can even reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
One of the best dietary sources of magnesium happens to be raw cacao. One ounce of cacao nibs has 9 grams of fiber.
Cacao's antioxidants help lower blood pressure and neutralize toxins in your body. Did you know that cacao can even put you in a better mood?!
Cacao helps build strong bones, reduce PMS symptoms, and alleviate stress. It's also known to help manage depression, and can even help you stay looking younger, longer!
Delicious Cacao Recipes
-- Banana Cacao Recovery Smoothie
-- No-Bake Chocolate Chia Power Balls
-- Dark Chocolate Brownies
-- Coconut Cacao Snowballs
-- Chocolate Almond Butter Fudge Bars
-- Raw Chocolate Fudge
There are many scientific studies listing the benefits of cacao. Just remember, cacao is not cocoa. While cocoa may be tasty, it lacks the health benefits cacao provides.
Dina-Marie @ Cultured Palate
Very interesting - I never knew the difference!
As with anything bitter, it helps to add salt to smoothies etc that you've also added cacao. An added benefit is the salt brings out the flavors of other ingredients such as fruit (that's the reason it's important to remember the salt when baking too). Enjoy!