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Cacao has been celebrated for centuries, thanks to its various health benefits. Not only does it taste delicious but some are also naturally rich in copper, magnesium, zinc and protein. Cacao can be seen as a more nutritional alternative to chocolate.
At Holland & Barrett, we have two different forms of cacao available: cacao powder and cacao nibs.
It is all down to personal choice which one you prefer! Cacao nibs are simply cacao beans which have been fermented, dried and then broken up into pieces. Cacao powder is made from cacao beans, which have been ground into a paste. The cacao butter is removed, leaving behind the dried powder.
Both are perfect for adding to snacks and as a flavour-rich addition to breakfasts such as granola, overnight oats or porridge.
So what are the main benefits of cacao?
One of the major benefits of cacao if that it is a natural plant-based source of protein. This means that when it is added to smoothies or snacks, it gives you an extra protein boost.
Vegans in particular may find it difficult to get all the protein that they need through their diets alone. This is because a lot of high protein sources include products which come from animals, such as meat and dairy products. Adding cacao to certain foods is a great way to up your protein intake each day.
Cacao is super versatile as well as delicious. Cacao powder can be sprinkled on top of your morning porridge or overnight oats, to give it a sweet taste for a delicious yet nutritious start to the day.
Combine cacao powder with dates and agave nectar to make some energy balls – the perfect post-workout snack.
Cacao nibs can be used as a straight swap for chocolate chips in baking recipes. You could also add them to granola for your breakfast or to your post-workout smoothies for an added protein hit.
If you fancy it, you can also eat the nibs straight from the packet!