The benefits of chocolate (dark in particular), in moderation, has been heralded for quite some time. Chock full of heart-healthy flavanols and brain-boosting stimulants, it’s often embraced as a healthy option that also satisfies our sweet tooth. However, many of us may avoid certain kinds, even the ones that are organic and high in cocoa content, citing loss of flavanols and certain sensitivities due to the commercial pressing process. For this reason, people opt for cocoa powder or carob powder, a chocolate substitute. But, is one healthier than the other? The answer is: it depends on your personal health needs.
Carob Versus Cacoa Powder: Is one a Healthier Alternative than the other?
If increasing the levels of fiber in your diet is a goal, go for carob powder. It contains 4.8 grams of fiber per 2-tablespoon serving, compared to cacao powder’s 3.6 grams for the same serving size. While the numbers are relatively close, if you’re watching fiber intake, every bit matters. Fiber, as most of us know, helps alleviate constipation, reduce cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar.
Are you calorie conscious?
It’s a toss-up. Both carob and cacao powder have approximately 25 calories in a 2 tablespoon serving size.
Seeking a calcium boost?
Without a doubt, carob powder’s the way to go. It has about three times as much as cacao powder!
Need a hefty dose of vitamins and minerals?
Cacao powder’s the better choice. While carob powder certainly has its share of vitamins and minerals, when compared to cacao powder, it has significantly fewer. For example, a serving of cacao provides 1.5 milligrams of iron while carob powder contains a mere 0.4 milligrams. Also, a serving of cacao has 54 milligrams of magnesium compared to carob’s 6 milligrams.
From a flavor perspective, the difference between the two is a matter of personal preference. Cacao powder has a rich flavor compared to carob’s subtly sweet taste. If bold and rich is what you’re after, cacao powder will knock the socks off your taste buds in contrast to carob powder. However, not everyone is a fan of extremely chocolaty flavors, in which case carob powder is the perfect option to add in smoothies, yogurts or when baking.
Last, but certainly not least, cacao contains oxalates, which are known to lead to the development of kidney stones. However, carob powder does not. It’s also free of phenylethylamine, which paves the way for migraines, as well as from stimulants such as theobromine and caffeine.
With all that said, here’s a link to a free video series with raw vegan chocolate (read: “healthy”) recipes. Enjoy! 🙂
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