While both cocoa and cacao have a lot in common (chocolate!), the way they are processed makes a huge difference.
Chances are, you have a tub of cocoa powder in your kitchen. Who doesn't love a chocolate muffin or a steaming cup of hot cocoa on a rainy afternoon? But what if we told you that it's cacao, not cocoa, that you should be buying?
You see, normal cocoa powder has been chemically processed and roasted, which destroys a large amount of the antioxidants. One study suggested that between 60% and 90% of the original antioxidants in cacao are lost through processing.
While cacao refers to cacao beans that have not been roasted. Cacao nibs or powder are minimally processed products that have no additives.
Both are nutitious and beneficial for your health when consumed in moderation. But raw cacao contains 126% more Iron, 149% more Magnesium and 136% more Potassium than cocoa.
Raw cacao also has almost 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries and it's one of the highest plant sources of iron. More importantly, raw cacao has 160mg of calcium per 100 g. (Milk has 125mg per 100g).
Overall, if you analyse the two gram per gram, cacao is more nutritious. However, cocoa is far cheaper which means that when it comes to price cocoa is the better choice if budget is an issue. Remember that they are interchangeable in recipes, so whichever you go for, just enjoy the taste and the hidden benefits.
Try our vegan brownies to for the extra hit of cocoa/cacao.