Cocoa powder is made from cacao beans. Cacao powder is just a less-processed form of cocoa powder, and the paleo lifestyle is always in favor of raw or minimally-processed foods.
The fact that it’s less processed means cacao powder has all the nutrients and health benefits of cocoa powder and then some. It has more antioxidants in the form of flavanols. Cacao powder is also thought to be the highest source of antioxidants and magnesium, both of which are essential to our health because antioxidants help keep inflammation low and magnesium is a vital nutrient many of us don’t get enough of. It helps us sleep, and for women who crave chocolate during that time of the month, it’s because they’re bodies are craving magnesium.
Because it’s less processed, cacao powder is higher in fiber and nutrients than cocoa powder. It’s also higher in calories. It’s totally worth the extra calories for the higher nutritional value, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re on a calorie-restricted diet.
Mix and Match
Cocoa powder and cacao powder can be used interchangeably in recipes. Either way, you’re getting a delicious nutrient powerhouse.