Cacao vs. Cocoa: 5 Health Benefits You Need to Know

RRylee February 5, 2024 7:01 AM

You've probably seen both cacao and cocoa products on the grocery store shelves and wondered what the difference is. After all, they both come from the same plant, Theobroma cacao. However, their health benefits can vary significantly. Here are the five key health benefits you need to know about cacao and cocoa.

1. Antioxidants

Cacao is renowned as a rich source of anti-oxidants. These incredible compounds help to neutralize harmful free radicals in your body, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cancer. Cocoa also contains antioxidants, albeit at a lower concentration due to the processing it undergoes.

2. Heart Health

Both cacao and cocoa have been linked to enhanced heart health. Studies show that they can help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and aid in preventing blood clots.

3. Mood Enhancer

Feeling down? Both cacao and cocoa could help. They contain compounds like phenylethylamine, which can boost your mood and promote feelings of well-being.

4. Brain Health

Cacao and cocoa are not just good for your body; they're also good for your mind. They contain flavonoids that are thought to improve various aspects of brain function, including memory and attention span.

5. Nutritional Value

Cacao and cocoa are both nutrient-dense foods. They're excellent sources of magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium. However, cacao generally has a better nutrient profile due to less processing.

Now, let's look at a comparison table of cacao and cocoa's health properties.

Property Cacao Cocoa
Anti-oxidants High Medium
Heart Health High High
Mood Enhancement High High
Brain Health High High
Nutritional Value High Medium

In conclusion, both cacao and cocoa have impressive health properties, each with their own strengths. While cacao appears to have a higher concentration of antioxidants and nutrients due to less processing, cocoa also provides substantial health benefits. Whether you choose cacao or cocoa, both can be a healthy addition to your diet when consumed in moderation.

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