All chocolate lovers probably felt even happier when cacao was declared a super food. However, a chocolate and raw cacao are very different. The process of producing cacao powder involves cold-pressing raw cocoa beans to remove cacao butter before turning the product into cacao powder.
So, how harmful is a high temperature for the health benefits of cacao? It was found by multiple researchers that the critical temperature for cacao is 130C. Temperatures above 130C reduce the cacao’s antioxidant activity, however temperatures above 170C significantly change the product.
I came across one study that investigated insulin secretion qualities of cacao under various pH (3.5 and 5.2). In that research, fat, alkaloid and polyphenol (which act as antioxidants) were removed from cocoa beans before the material was used for these experiments. The cocoa under 3.5 caused the highest insulin secretion, but both types decreased blood glucose. The research paper concludes ‘It can be suggested that besides other compounds of cocoa, its peptides and amino acids could contribute to its health benefits.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 134, Issue 2, 15 September 2012, Pages 905-911 )
Cocoa contains about 60% of dietary fibre, most of it is insoluble fibre. This is why raw cacao as a low calorie and high-fibre food with exceptional anti-oxidants qualities is an amazing product.
Of course you could sprinkle cacao over your porridge, add some to your chia puddings, add into your coffee instead of adding a chocolate syrup…
I worked very hard on this chocolate cheese cake, but finally I am very happy with the result and can’t wait to publish my recipe!