Is Your Chocolate Real? Cacao vs Cocoa: What You Need to Know…
A growing number of studies show that chocolate, especially antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, has health benefits that put it squarely on the latest list of superfoods. This sounds fantastic because chocolate is so delicious. But, are you actually eating real chocolate? The disappointing answer is most likely not. The studies that boast of chocolate’s amazing health benefits are not referring to your average store-bought chocolate bar, they are referring to cacao.
The good news is you can make your own chocolate with only 3 super healthy ingredients: cacao, coconut oil and honey!
So, What Is The Difference Between Cocoa And Cacao? Cocoa is processed cacao that has been roasted at high temperatures. Cacao is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans. The process of making cacao is minimal and preserves all the antioxidants, while roasting at high temperatures destroys them in cocoa.
Let’s take for example a popular brand: Hershey’s chocolates. Like other industrial chocolate makers, for the most part, their products aren’t really chocolate. During their manufacturing process, cocoa butter is mixed with other vegetable oils. This is a cheaper way of producing chocolate but the problem is the final product is something other than “real chocolate”. Most of them also contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup and use soy lecithin as an emulsifier.
Studies show that the darker the chocolate, the better. Eat only less-processed chocolate that contains at least 65 percent cacao, recommends Joy DuBost, PhD, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman. Not only does dark chocolate have a higher concentration of antioxidants than milk chocolate, but milk chocolate is also higher in added sugar and unhealthy fats.
Did you know also that dairy inhibits the absorption of antioxidants from cacao? Making your own real chocolate using non-dairy ingredients is the best way to preserve all the health benefits.
Of the many flavonoids in cacao, two in particular, epicatechin and quercetin, are believed to be responsible for the cancer-fighting properties. Eating real chocolate helps prevent cancer! This DIY: 3 Ingredient Real Chocolate Recipe is perfect in so many ways. A true superfood!
7 Health Benefits Of Raw Cacao
- It can improve memory loss
- Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
- Improves vision
- Protects your nervous system
- Lowers blood pressure
- It can boost your mood
- Helps prevent cancer
Luckily, I was able to find an organic cacao powder at Whole Foods but it is also available online. I thought of making my own chocolate and found an amazing 3 ingredient recipe. Yes, only 3 super healthy ingredients. Now, this is what I call a healthy treat. Eating chocolate can bring health benefits, lots of health benefits! Make sure you choose a virgin coconut oil and raw honey. You can also use maple syrup instead of honey if you like it better.
Are You Eating Real Chocolate? DIY: 3 Ingredient Real Chocolate Recipe
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (make sure it is melted).
4-6 tablespoons raw honey (depending on how sweet you like your chocolates)
1. In a medium size bowl, mix all ingredients. You want to incorporate all ingredients really well. You can whisk by hand or using a hand blender.
2. Put the mixture into fun molds (I used the egg chocolate mold and a heart chocolate mold. You can also use a chocolate bar mold. Place in the freezer for about 1 hour.
Tip: Store your chocolates in the freezer and take them out a few minutes before serving. They taste amazing! With this recipe I made 30 mini chocolates. You can use maple syrup and swap coconut oil for cacao butter(creamier version) as well. I am also going to try incorporating other flavors like vanilla extract, pinch of salt, berries, and chopped nuts. So many flavor combinations!