What's the difference between cacao and cocoa?

What's the difference between cacao and cocoa?
Cocoa is made from raw cocoa beans that are roasted, processed and then ground into a powder.
PHOTO: Reuters

Same same but different.

Cocoa and cacao - try to say that three times fast! Though the two words may sound similar, they're not interchangeable.

So then what's the difference and which one's better for you and your health and skin?

COCOA

If you're a big hot chocolate drinker or if you love to bake, then chances are you have some cocoa powder in your kitchen.

Cocoa is made from raw cocoa beans that are roasted, processed and then ground into a powder.

There are two different types of cocoa powder, natural cocoa powder and dutch-processed cocoa powder.

The major difference between them is acidity: dutch-processed cocoa powder is darker in colour and often paired with baking powder in recipes and natural cocoa powder is lighter and paired with baking soda.

Cocoa powder is sold in most grocery stores, and it's what many people think is chocolate if they've never heard about cacao.

CACAO

Cacao is a superfood: It's the rawest, purest form of chocolate there is.

It's less processed than cocoa powder and more expensive to produce, simply because it requires more work.

However the flavor is much richer and complex than cocoa powder and it's also higher in antioxidants and magnesium - which are both wonderful for your skin.

VERDICT

If you're a chocolate lover and want a daily dose of chocolate, then we think you should go for raw cacao because it's less processed and will give your body - and skin - more nutrients.

A recent study has come out that even says that eating chocolate could make you smarter thanks to the flavanols found in it.

Since cacao (even cacao powder) is produced with less heat than cocoa powder, it retains more of the minerals and flavanols, making it better for you.

We recommend you go out and buy some raw cacao powder today.

Use it in your smoothies, in your chia seed pudding, or to make a heart-healthy, decadent cup of hot chocolate that will give you glowing skin.

We can assure you that you won't be disappointed - that is, if you like chocolate of course.

Shape, the only women's health & fitness magazine in Singapore is now available in both print and digital formats. Log on to www.shape.com.sg to subscribe!

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