Cacao: Healthy Pantry Item
Cacao is the unprocessed sibling of cocoa. It’s made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans and comes and nibs (pictured) or ground to a powder. The result is a less intense chocolate flavour with significantly higher amounts of antioxidants that have been shown to prevent insulin resistance, heart problems and nerve damage. It’s also a good source of minerals like iron, potassium, calcium and zinc. Unfortunately you’re unlikely to eat enough in a sitting to make a big difference to your daily intake of these nutrients; but every little bit helps. If you’re a choc-a-holic, try replacing a few of your regular chocolate treats with a cocao flavoured smoothie, bliss ball or hot chocolate. Besides the benefits from the cacao, you’ll also be reducing your intake of saturated fats and added sugars from chocolate! It tastes a little bitter (like cocoa), so pair it with something sweet in recipes like dates or banana to bring out the chocolate flavour.