Tweaklet #56 – Cacao vs Cocoa

OK boys and girls, let’s talk CHOCOLATE! I say boys and girls because for many of us chocolate brings out our big kid and our inner sweet tooth. But there’s so much confusion about chocolate. We’ve talked about it before and we will undoubtedly talk about it again but today let’s clarify the differences between cacao and cocoa.

Cacao and Cocoa both start off in the same place – from the seeds or beans within the seed pods produced by the cacao tree in South America. The raw bean is very bitter and is usually fermented and dried first.

To maintain the health benefits of the cacao bean manufacturers heat them at a low temperature, which separates the fatty part of the bean from the rest of it. And now it gets chopped up into nibs, just like healthy chocolate chips!

I say healthy because cacao really is! It is one of the most powerful superfoods known to man, that not only boosts our Feel Good hormone levels, but it can also lower our blood pressure, control our appetite,  regulate insulin levels,  boost our good gut bacteria and so much more!

Cocoa starts the same way cacao does. However, during processing, it’s heated at much higher temperatures. This results in a slightly sweeter flavour but, unfortunately, a lessening of its health benefits because of the change the high temperatures cause to the bean’s molecular structure.

So it doesn’t essentially mean cocoa and chocolate made from cocoa is bad, it just doesn’t have the same integrity and is therefore not nearly as beneficial for our health.

Plus in regular chocolate, a lot of other things are often added, like dairy products, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers and those dreaded unknowns called FILLERS. Urgh!

So when that chocolate craving kicks in look for a good quality dark chocolate or take time to seek out some cacao nibs for a purer source of chocolate.

Then you’ll be surprised how satisfying chocolate can be because of its many benefits, including stopping other cravings and helping you get a good night’s sleep.

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Tweaklet #43 – Blueberries

Which is your favourite berry?

All berries are a good low-sugar, low calorie option when it comes to a fruit snack. One perhaps gets rather overlooked and that’s the blueberry……..

This tiny dusky purple skinned beauty is, in fact, the most nutritious …..most anti-oxidant rich fruit in the world!

It does many good things from enhancing brain health to keeping your heart strong.

Blueberries are actually another heroic, cape wearing SUPER FOOD! Yep, here’s another superfood alert!

So the antioxidant properties of blueberries mean that they precent cell damage and they also protect against several types of chronic disease, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. That’s to do with having the highest levels of antioxidants but also the profile of them, which includes phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins.

Studies have shown that blueberry extract was able to inhibit the growth and spread of stomach, prostate, intestine and breast cancer cells and
Blueberries provide a whopping 3.6 grams of fibre per cupful, which gives you up to 14 percent of your daily fibre needs and this means it’s great for slow digestion and therefore blueberries are great for helping with weight loss and digestion.

One of the most impressive health benefits of blueberries is its ability to enhance brain health. There have been many studies suggesting that eating blueberries could improve memory and cognition.

So blueberries – delicious, nutritious, fibre rich and low in sugar – you are my first choice for a breakfast smoothie or an afternoon snack.

What a wonderful superfood you are!

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Download my free E-Book here.