The Cacao Tree or Cocoa Tree is native to the tropical regions of Central and South America. The fruit of the tree is an egg-shaped red to brown pod. The pod contains 30 to 40 seeds, each of which is surrounded by a bitter-sweet white pulp. When the seeds are dried and fermented in the sun they are brownish red, and known as cocoa beans.
Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat, which is called cacao butter.
Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Roasting the raw cacao changes the molecular structure of the cocoa bean, and therefore reduces the enzyme content and lowers the overall nutritional value.
So why use cacao over cocao?
Cacao is rich in the minerals magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese. It boosts mood, reduces blood pressure, slows the aging process, shields nerve cells from damage, aids in weight loss, improves brain function, helps with headaches, and lowers insulin resistance. And as a powerful antioxidant, it fights free radicals and repairs any damage done by free radicals. Whereas cocoa is stripped of any nutrients and is often laden with sugar, milk fat, hydrogenated oils and artificial flavourings.
Using raw cacao is easy! Just add it to your smoothies, oatmeal, baking recipes, etc. Just the other day I made a delicious, super yummy hot chocolate with raw cacao! Here’s the recipe: https://evergreenhealthyliving.com/2014/02/12/healthy-hot-chocolate/
You can find raw cacao at your local health store, or you can order it on-line. I like Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder. You can find it at http://navitasnaturals.com/product/441/Cacao-Powder.html
For my eating chocolate, I love:
Chocosol Traders http://chocosoltraders.com/
Giddy Yoyo http://www.giddyyoyo.com/
Give cacao a go and add this superfood into your day! I promise that you won’t be disappointed!