What’s the Difference Between Cacao and Cocoa?

Last time you bought a chocolate bar, chances are you spotted some information on the wrapper mentioning the bar’s cacao content. Most people are familiar with the idea of cocoa and cocoa-based food. But what is the difference between cacao vs. cocoa?

While the spelling and idea of cocoa and cacao are very similar, the two products are actually quite distinct — and it all starts back at the roots.

How Are Cacao and Cocoa Different?

Every bit of chocolate you eat comes from cacao beans from the Theobroma cacao tree, a type of evergreen tree found throughout South America and West Africa. Cacao seeds grow in large pod fruits along the trunks of the cacao tree. Each tree can produce up to 60 beans per pod. Cacao food products are derived from the raw form of the seeds. Cacao isn't far removed from the fresh, natural state the beans were harvested in. The cacao is cold-pressed and isn’t roasted.

Cocoa, on the other hand, refers to beans that have been roasted at high temperatures. This process alters the molecular structure of the bean, removing several of its beneficial nutritional values and stripping the beans of enzymes. During this process, several manufacturers will enhance the cocoa with sugars, oils or milk fats. The end product is the cocoa powder commonly seen in your local supermarket.

Is Cacao or Cocoa Healthier?

Since both cacao and cocoa come from the cacao tree seeds, both contain high levels of fiber and low levels of fat. But because cacao is less processed than its cocoa counterpart, cacao offers several nutritional benefits. By making cacao a sweet staple of your diet, you can experience:

  • Minimized risks of diabetes: Unprocessed cacao is high in magnesium, which is associated with lowering risks of diabetes as well as promoting stronger bones and reducing risks of heart disease.
  • Reduced inflammation: Cacao in its rawest form is also abundant in flavonoids — an antioxidant that helps limit inflammatory enzymes from releasing throughout your body. These flavonoids are also known to encourage high levels of healthy cholesterol and help the health of your heart.
  • Protection against toxins: As a strong antioxidant, cacao is believed to help repair damage caused by free radicals and may even help reduce the risk of certain types of cancers.
  • Boost daily iron and other mineral intake: With more iron in your blood, your body can more effectively transport oxygen to your tissues.
  • Improved overall mood: If you’ve ever noticed that your mood improves after eating a chocolate bar or other sweet treat, it’s not just because you just ate one of your favorite food. The phenylethylamine (PEA) found in raw cacao. PEA helps increase energy and elevate moods.

Get Your Cacao Fix With Nibs From Sincerely Nuts

At Sincerely Nuts, we want to help you enjoy the little things. What better way than with delicious organic cacao nibs? Keep a one-pound package at your desk to enjoy as an afternoon snack or get a five-pound bag for your entire family to share!

At Sincerely Nuts, we believe in always offering the highest quality, healthy snacks for you to appreciate any time. That's why when you order $60 or more of our snacks, you can expect free shipping.

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