Better known as the “food of the gods,” chocolate is one of the world’s favorite foods because of its exquisite taste and nutritional properties. One of it’s main ingredients, cacao, is used in almost everything you can think of, including liquor, desserts, soaps, shampoos, creams and other beauty products. What many may not know are the wonderful benefits of this incredible and delicious food. Keep on reading and learn more about Cacao.
The Difference Between Cacao and Cocoa
It is common to be confused with cacao and cocoa, this is because they look very similar and come from the same place, the cocoa tree. The raw cacao powder is made from pure cacao beans, natural and without added sugar, in this cold pressing process, the fat is eliminated. For its part, cocoa is a processed ingredient and roasted at high temperatures, which is used mainly to make bars, cakes, spreads and chocolate cereals.
Chocolate in particular is made by mixing cacao paste with cacao butter together with sugar, emulsifiers and vanilla.
Cacao is on the top list of foods with the highest antioxidant content, almost like green tea and red wine, preventing cardiovascular and cerebrovascular illness. Raw Organic Cacao has more calcium than cow’s milk, at 160 mg per 100 g vs only 125 mg per 100 ml of milk. It also relieves stress thanks to theobromine, which stimulates the central nervous system. Actually, it is a fact that eating dark chocolate with 60 or 70% cocoa can control high cholesterol levels.
Cocoa also can make you happier! This is because it stimulates the production of dopamine and endorphins, better known as the “Happy Hormones.”
Cocoa Fights Tooth Decay
As weird as it may seem, it has been proven that certain parts of the cocoa bean have antibacterial properties that fight tooth decay and have been so successful in studies that it may get added to toothpaste in the future. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that chocolate contains another ingredient aside from cacao: sugar. And this is definitely an ingredient that is not healthy for our teeth.
The Best Way To Eat It
According to a study, it has been shown that a cup of soluble cocoa contains the highest concentration of antioxidants. That’s why the best way to take advantage of its properties is in a soluble form, dissolving it in hot milk or water. It is convenient to consume 1 to 2 ounces of dark chocolate 2 or 3 times a week to start seeing the benefits.
There are also many healthy preparations and recipes that include cocoa, for example, chocolate milk, milkshakes, cakes and many more desserts that will light up your day.
Where to find it?
The origin of this species is the Amazon region, which includes countries such as Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil, specifically at Napo, Putumayo and Caqueta rivers.
Would you like to see cacao trees? Plan your trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon! At Yacuma EcoLodge, located in Napo region, we offer several tours where you will be able to look at these super food plants. Come and enjoy an unforgettable trip through the Amazon Rain forest by booking your room here!