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  • Writer's pictureKathy Ozakovic

Cacao or Cocoa - what's the difference?

Nothing better than a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winters day by the heater with my favorite blanky. However, there is a significant difference between my childhood favorite Milo and my now favorite NutraOrganics Choc Whiz. How you prepare your favorite hot chocolate will also affect the health outcomes you reap. Keep reading if you want to learn how a hot chocolate habit can do you good.

COCOA

You'll find cocoa, cocoa mass, cocoa butter and solids in your favorite and well known brands including Milo, Cadbury, Lindt, Snickers and Mars bars. Cocoa results from roasted cacao beans. In other terms, the cacao beans are heat processed which means a loss of nutrients, 60 - 90% less antioxidants, the more processing the lower the % of cacao. The heat process and loss of nutrients also makes it sweeter. Often cocao is mixed with additives and preservatives including sugar, refined hydrogenated oils, milk fats, artificial colours and flavorings. Some will use cocao in small amounts to increase the palatability of cacao, nothing wrong with that!


CACAO

Cacao beans are unprocessed. They can be raw or cold pressed, making it nutrient-dense. Cacao is packed with antioxidants which protect our body from free-radicals that do damage to cells and cause premature aging. Therefore, cacao being packed with antioxidants makes it youth promoting (ie. healthy skin). Cacao has no added chemicals, is rich in iron and magnesium as well as rich in neurotransmitters. Cacao contains the stimulating aphrodisiac theobrimine, mood boosting serotonin and tryptophan, and a huge amount of phenylethylamine which increases dopamine.


Studies show that cacao may help increase insulin sensitivity, therefore protecting from type 2 diabetes, reduce blood pressure protecting our hearts, and improve learning and memory abilities. Cacao nibs are a great replacement for chocolate chips if you are looking to boost your baking (especially good in banana bread).


How do I remember which is which?

Admittedly, I had trouble with this too! Then, writing this blog I noticed that the raw version (Cacao) comes before the processed version in the alphabet! A comes before o; CACAO comes before cocoa.


My current winter hot chocolate favorites

NutraOrganics uses cacao in both blends listen below, if you would like to add these to your winter cupboard I can have them supplied to you:


NOT VEGAN

With bioavailable Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Omega 3 DHA supporting cognitive function, gut health, teeth & bones, energy, growth & development this is a great option for growing children (and non vegan adults). Choc Whiz doesn’t contain any artificial colours, flavours or gluten. Note, it is not vegan as it contains Omega3s from fish sources (you can't taste it).


Ingredients: Cacao* (32 %), Superfoods (9 %) (Lucuma*, Acai Berry*, Cranberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Mango, Beetroot*), Raw Coconut Sugar*, Natural Plant Based Flavours (Chocolate, Monk Fruit), Dark Chocolate Chunks (Cocoa Mass*, Sugar*, Cocoa Butter*, Vanilla*), Aquamin Marine Minerals (Arctic Sea Algae* & Salt), Prebiotic Fibres (Green Banana Starch*, Inulin*), Marine Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), GanedenBC30® (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6068). *Certified Organic Ingredients


Yes it also has cocoa! Like I said earlier, this adds to the flavour making it more palatable.


Ways to use it: Mix 2 teaspoons (6 g) into 250 mL to milk of your choice and enjoy hot or cold. Alternatively, add it to plain yoghurt to create a chocolate mousse. Add to baking, smoothies, pancakes or just eat straight off the spoon!


VEGAN OPTION

At 75% cacao with no cocao, this option is higher in antioxidants and lower in sugar. IT is sweetened naturally with monk fruit. This option has more of that powdery taste you'd expect from cacao. You can easily mask this with a rich milk. If I'm having an afternoon hot chocolate to boost my concentration I will often add Ayam Light Coconut Milk. Don't worry the "arousing blend" is not designed to be therapeutic in any way and is not to be associated with the likes of therapeutic supplements (if you are after some therapeutic dosages of traditionally used stimulating herbs I cant supply those as well!)


Ingredients: Cacao* (75 %), Australian Roasted Carob*, "Arousing Blend" (3 %) (Maca*, Damiana, Horny Goat Weed, Tribulus*), Coconut MCT Oil*, Natural Flavour (Vanilla Bean Extract), Sunflower Extract*, Pink Himalayan Salt, Natural Sweetener (Monk Fruit Extract).

*Certified Organic Ingredients


Alternatively, create your own

Creating your own hot chocolate from raw cacao powder may look like this: VIDEO DEMO

Keep it simple or like the video says, add maple syrup for some extra sweetness. Other sweet options include local honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon sugar, monk fruit extract powder. The type of milk you use will also impact the health benefits and taste of your hot chocolate. Your choice will depend on the outcomes you want. If you need help choosing your milk read my blog about the different types of milk.


In saying all that, there are exceptions to the rule, there is a time and a place for everything: I fondly recall camping days when we melted Cadbury's Old Gold Rum & Raisin over the fire, adding small amounts of milk at first, and then more to create our own hot chocolate experience. Create memories.

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Did you find this blog helpful and informative? Tag & Share with your friends who would love it too! Sign up for my Free NuFit Wellness Newsletter to stay in the loop. Attend my Wellness Workshops. Promoting consciousness in food choices helping people heal. Dietitian & Wellness Coach, Health Presenter, Gut Health Specialist - Kathy Ozakovic.

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KEYWORDS: cocoa, cacao, hot chocolate, mug, winter, warm, drink, childhood, sweet, antioxidants, gut health, wellness, milk, comforting, healthy, tasty.

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