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Once an elixir of the regal and wealthy, modern day foodies and health buffs are discovering the benefits of cacao and cocoa powder. Cacao has been used for wellness, culinary and ceremonial purposes for centuries. Now people are rediscovering the health benefits of these two nutritional powerhouses. They can be easily integrated into your nutritional plan and busy modern lifestyle.
Cacao is now available for many contemporary users in organic supermarkets, online stores, and specialty shops. In particular, cacao promotes overall wellness and better sleep. Many people are beginning to integrate cacao and cocoa into their diets to promote overall wellness and improved sleep
Many people mainly think of using cacao to enrich flavor, but it has so many other health benefits. An increasing number of people have rediscovered the health benefits of cacao and cocoa powder and add these ingredients to breakfast foods, smoothies, yogurt and more. Some have replaced their morning coffee with cacao and report it is an effective replacement for coffee or tea.
Here are our top 5 choices of cacao and cocoa powder products.
- Best Overall Cacao Powder: Earth Echo Foods Cacao Bliss
- Best Cacao for Women: Organifi Harmony
- Best Cocoa Powder: MindBodyGreen Beauty & Gut Collagen+
- Best Tasting: Ancient Elixirs Superfood Cocoa
- Best Cacao for Daytime: ReNude Chagaccino Canister
Let’s take a closer look at the qualities of cacao and cocoa powder to determine which form might work best for your wellness needs. We will explore raw versus processed cocoa powder and review the product features of several leading cocoa and cacao brands.
Cacao Powder vs Cocoa Powder
Cacao is the purest form of chocolate that is cold-pressed to minimize processing and retain flavonoids and other properties. Most experts refer to the raw beans and nibs as cacao.
Beans that have been lightly roasted are usually referred to as cocoa. Cocoa powder is made from the cacao chocolate liquor or paste after the raw cacao has been fermented, dried and ground up. Cocoa powder flavors chocolate, chocolate beverages and chocolate confections. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved careful wording about claims about cocoa flavonoids. This development suggests the FDA and other health associations generally consider cocoa powder safe for human consumption.
Cacao Powder Benefits
Cacao powder has many benefits such as reducing cardiovascular risk, lowering cholesterol levels, and promoting overall wellness and stress relief. A large scale randomized trial examined the preventative heart health effects of cocoa flavanols. One study found a 27 percent reduction in the secondary endpoint of cardiovascular death.
A University of Barcelona study found daily consumption of 40 grams of cocoa powder with skim milk for 4 weeks boosted HDL (“good” cholesterol) and reduced LDL (the “concerning” cholesterol). Another review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found cacao lowered blood pressure, improved circulation and improved insulin resistance.
Cacao powder contains antioxidants which help prevent cell damage and disease. Antioxidants enhance heart health and reduce inflammation.
Cacao powder also has magnesium, iron, and zinc. These compounds are important for supporting wellness and immunity. Vitamin C and B vitamins found in cacao are important for energy production and maintaining a healthy nervous system.
Best Cacao & Cocoa Powders in 2023
Let’s take a closer look at the company overview, product features and customer feedback for each product. You are sure to find a suitable and effective wellness solution among these five cacao and cocoa powder products.
1. Best Overall Cacao Powder: Earth Echo Foods Cacao Bliss
Earth Echo Foods is known for its delicious, nourishing products. It uses only organic, non-GMO ingredients.
Cacao Bliss is one of the Earth Echo’s premier products. The nibs contain turmeric, mesquite, lucuma, himalayan salt, coconut nectar, cinnamon, MCT powder, black pepper, and cacao. Some effects include a sense of mental clarity while offering superfood goodness. Customers can use the cacao nibs to create drinks or in baking recipes for cookies, granola bars and more.
- Contains 30 servings
- Only 35 calories per serving
- Dairy free
- No sugar or artificial additives
- Keto friendly
- USDA organic
- 100% vegan
What Customers Love:
Customers love the delicious taste and relaxing effect. Many use it in their morning coffee and add it to other beverages, desserts and snacks. Many customers report a decrease in joint pain and inflammation. Others have been quite happy with weight loss results.
2. Best Cacao for Women: Organifi Harmony
Organifi was founded with the vision of making a healthy lifestyle easier for everyone, so they set out to create tasty superfood drinks despite many people saying healthy drinks could not be made palatable. They were successful in creating a wide variety of nutritious drinks in a variety of flavors.
Harmony is a delicious cacao blend designed to help balance and support hormones. It is formulated to ease PMS symptoms and provide greater energy. It contains maca, chaste tree berry and shatavari that are key players in supporting hormonal health. It is lightly sweetened with monk fruit juice but still sugar free!
- Bags are 9.52 ounces and contain 30 servings
- Glyphosate residue free
- Non GMO
What Customers Love:
Customers love the range of benefits. They report less stress, hormonal-related mood fluctuation, and overall better health and sleep. They adore the chocolatey flavor and use the product in a variety of hot and cold drinks.
3. Best Cocoa Powder: MindBodyGreen Beauty & Gut Collagen+
Co-founders and co-CEOs Jason and Colleen Wachob founded MindBodyGreen with a mission to provide customers with high quality supplements. Products feature special formulations and undergo four rounds of testing to ensure superior quality.
MindBodyGreen’s beauty and gut collagen is designed to provide inside-out support for healthy skin, nails and the gastrointestinal system. It contains a blend of collagen peptides, hyaluronic acid, vitamins C & E, biotin, L-glutamine, turmeric, and sulforaphane glucosinolate. The product contains 17.7 grams of collagen peptides obtained from grass-fed, pasture-raised Brazilian cows.
- 20 servings in a bag
- 13.9 ounce bags
- GMO free
- Gluten free
- Soy-free and sugar free
- Subscriptions can be canceled at any time
- 30-day money back guarantee
What Customers Love:
Customers just love how the product promotes better skin, hair and nails. And of course, they also love the boost of energy and wonderful taste.
4. Best Tasting: Ancient Elixirs Superfood Cocoa
Ancient Nutrition’s founders Jordan Rubin and Dr. Josh Axe based the company’s mission on their belief in the healing power of superfoods. They set out to produce high-quality supplements.
Ancient Elixirs Superfood Cocoa is delicious, effective and affordable, and these are just a few of the reasons why it was voted best overall cacao powder. This mix boosts energy, reduces fatigue, and promotes concentration.
- Ingredients include organic cocoa powder, organic chaga mushroom extract, and organic Reishi mushroom extract.
- Free shipping on orders over $49.00
- 30 day satisfaction guarantee
- Enhanced by organic mushroom extracts
- Contains less than 5 mg of caffeine per serving
What Customers Love:
Customers appreciate the healthy delicious taste and boost of energy this mix offers. Many report it helps them manage stress. They also acknowledged the speedy delivery and helpful customer service.
5. Best Cacao for Daytime: ReNude Chagaccino Canister
ReNude’s company motto is “Live Long, Die Pretty!” which illustrates their passion about products that promote longevity and vitality. ReNude was founded in Los Angeles, California. The company specializes in drink mixes, so they only offer six products. The Mushroom Chagaccino Mix includes only the finest ingredients from around the world, so it has won over many loyal customers. Supposedly Gwyneth Paltrow is a big fan of this mix!
ReNude’s Chagaccino 30-serving Canister Adaptogen Mushroom Mix is a nutritious mushroom mocha formulation that makes for the perfect morning coffee substitute. The various other organic ingredients also contain compounds that promote anti-aging, stress reduction and enhanced immunity.
- 100% wild foraged chaga, organic Peruvian cacao, organic ceylon cinnamon, and monk fruit sweetener
- 30 servings per canister ($1.66/serving)
- Contains a metal mushroom scooper for easy and no-mess measuring.
- Keto friendly
- Non GMP
- No artificial flavors
What Customers Love:
Customers rave about the price, rich flavor and many benefits of Chagaccino. Customers report better energy levels and a calm, focused state of mind.
What is Cacao Powder?
The cacao tree is cultivated in tropical climates. The cacao pod contains about 30-50 beans and pulp. During processing, the beans and pulp are carefully removed. The beans are fermented. It involves a 5-8 day process of exposing the beans to oxygen. The fermentation process breaks down the coat, removes germs and bacteria and enhances flavor. Then beans are sun-dried for several days to remove any additional moisture. Roasting kills any additional remaining bacteria and loosens the shell. A melangeur grinder is used to pulverize beans into a cacao liquor. Vanilla, milk or sugar may be added during this stage. More extensive grinding results in a smoother paste consistency.
Cacao has roughly twice the amount of theobromine, which is a naturally occurring compound. Theobromine is a gentle stimulant that provides a long lasting energy boost and alertness. It has anti-aging benefits and reduces blood pressure. Some people use cacao for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Raw cacao is high in magnesium-an important mineral for sleep support. Magnesium functions as a natural relaxant. It deactivates adrenaline. Cacao also contains tryptophan. This amino acid morphs into the neurotransmitter serotonin and then converts into the hormone melatonin. Raw cacao promotes serotonin production, so it is a stress buster and mood enhancer.
In addition to serotonin and tryptophan, cacao is a powerful source of serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine. Some people believe that cacao helps them manage anxiety, depression, and stress. Cacao induces the release of endorphins and dopamine.
How to Prepare Cacao or Cocoa Powder
Cacao and cocoa powder are both versatile, so you can add them to many different types of drinks and foods. For example, many people like to add a teaspoon of cacao to their coffee or tea, while others prefer to sprinkle it over their yogurt, oatmeal or fresh fruit. The possibilities are endless depending on your palate, and it’s an easy way to get extra fiber or magnesium.
What are cacao nibs?
Cacao nibs are made by fermenting, drying and roasting cocoa beans or seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree, and then separating the nibs from the shell of the cocoa beans. After roasting, the bean’s thin outer shell is removed to reveal the cacao nibs. The pieces of cocoa beans are crushed to make a thick paste known as cocoa liquor. This paste can be used to make chocolate when it is mixed with other ingredients such as sugar and milk.
Cacao nibs taste more acidic and bitter than cocoa. They are high in fiber, iron, magnesium, zinc protein, and healthy fats. They are a source of iron, magnesium, and zinc. Polyphenols found in cacao nibs are associated with reduced intestinal inflammation.
Researchers in Italy discovered that cocoa flavonoids found in cacao nibs enhance cognitive functions such as cognitive speed, memory and attention. Another study found that eating cacao polyphenols contain antidiabetic properties that help lower short-term blood sugar levels.
Are there risks to taking cacao powder?
Overall, it is safe to take cacao powder following the recommended amounts by the company and medical professionals. As with any food item, it is best to avoid taking too much of an ingredient.
This list of the top products can help you find the right cacao or cocoa powder for your wellness needs. Enjoy this delicious journey as you sample, cacao nibs, hot cocoa and your very own cacao enhanced drink and food creations.
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