We can never deny the fact that cacao or cocoa is packed with nutrients to keep our body in top shape. Chocolates on the other hand, which comes from processed cacao beans, may have some of its original health compounds but it may have some more ingredients that might deal cause some adverse side-effects. Its fine time to learn all about cacao and chocolates to get some good use out it — aside from giving in to our sweet tooth.
Difference Between Cacao and Chocolates
There is a big difference between cacao and chocolates though the former is the main ingredient for the latter. Cacao is harvested, dried, roasted, and ground to produce chocolate solid and butter that is a staple for chocolate concoctions today.
There are three types of chocolates made from cacao – the sweetened chocolate made from both chocolate butter and solids with sugar; the milk chocolate made from 100% chocolate butter; and the dark chocolate made from both ingredients but without the sugar. The latter is called unsweetened chocolates which is more nutritious that the other two.
Sugar and Fat
Many consider chocolates to be unhealthy and can be the cause of many health-related problems, like diabetes or high-blood pressure. Keep in mind, however, that not all chocolates results to these conditions. The main reason why you acquire diabetes or suffer heart problems is due to sugar and other additional ingredients mixed with chocolate butter and solids to produce the favorite sweets of younger generations and adults alike.
Cacao bean and cocoa powders only have 2% sugar. Sweetened chocolates, however, may have 45% to 50% sugar — that is why it is bad if you eat too much of it. Also, cacao and processed cocoa contains 50% fat — fatty acids and mono-saturated fat. These do not cause your blood pressure to rise. However, other chocolate varieties, like those made with milk and other additives can.
Antioxidant and Heart-Friendly Properties
Cacao beans are great antioxidants. The non-fat portion of cacao beans contains polyphenols commonly found in wine. These antioxidant properties are called flavonoids, which include epicatechins, catechins, and procyandins. These compounds reduce the risk of blood clotting that is a great way to avoid heart attack and stroke.
Another compound found in cacao bean is the Theobromine. It is known as a mild diuretic that increases urine production. Doctors utilize this compound to reduce the possibility of heart attacks caused by increase fluids in the human body.
Mental and Behavioral Solutions
There are also compounds in cacao beans that help in relieving mental and behavioral illnesses, like depression. A substance called Serotonine that is found in both chocolate and its raw ingredient is known to increase brain activity. This is often used with patients that are suffering from PMS, depression, or anxiety.
Also, both chocolates and cacao beans contain phenylethylamine. This compound is a known anti-depressant and acts as a stimulant that mimics those produced by our adrenal glands.