chocolate it’s good for you!
I came across this article this morning which got me excited to write this post!!!
the benefits of chocolate come from the polyphenols in the cacao / cocoa.
consuming these polyphenols has all kinds of studied benefits, including but not limited to improved mood, improved cardiovascular health, improved insulin sensitivity, improved blood pressure, and protection against UV damage. all of this comes from the polyphenols!
cacao / cocoa is extremely healthful, when not packaged with a bunch of other BS.
btw, this isn’t a justification or rationalization to eat all the sweet chocolate you want! the benefits come from the cacao / cocoa powder itself, which is high in polyphenols and has many tremendous benefits on health. so the more cacao / cocoa you can get with the less other stuff, the better!
there is a subtle difference between CACAO vs COCOA:
- CACAO powder is less processed than cocoa and is considered raw because it’s processed a low heat – just enough to separate the cacao butter, and then the beans are milled into a fine powder.
- COCOA powder is more processed. it goes thru the same fat separation method, but the beans are cooked at a higher temperature, which reduces some of the bitter taste and also gives it a slightly different flavor. but it also potentially damages some of the beneficial compounds.
personally, I can’t tell much of a difference between cacao or cocoa, so I always try to go with CACAO. both are healthful, but if you can find powders or bars that are made with CACAO vs COCOA, cacao might be better!
here’s what to do:
it’s challenging to find products that specify they are made with just cacao vs cocoa. because even labels that have packaging stating CACAO on the front, in the ingredients use chocolate and COCOA. but it’s all good because you’re still getting the health benefits no matter what!
- opt for dark chocolate bars with high cacao or cocoa content, low sugar, and minimal ingredients. always avoid milk chocolate. I like my dark chocolate bars to have 5g of sugar or less per half bar. that means I can consume a whole half bar in an evening.
- opt for dark chocolate chips or chunks vs milk chocolate.
- I actually really like these by Lily’s, they are low in sugar and sweetened with sugar alcohols and stevia. definitely worth a try.
- these are some great baking dark chocolate chips by SunSpire.
- use cacao or cocoa powder to make your own recipes! that way you can control the sweetness and all the other ingredients that go into it.
- I like to use this CACAO powder for my sweet potato brownies.
- I also add it to most of the coffee I drink. like maybe 1/2 tsp per cup of coffee.
- check out this article from Nuts.com on the difference between cacao and cocoa.
- I also love this article by Thrive Market which discusses a lot of the benefits of cacao.
- a great resource on the health benefits of cacao / cocoa Why You Should Eat and Drink High Cacao Dark Chocolate.
- another great resource Is Chocolate Good For You? The Health Benefits of Chocolate.