What’s The Difference Between Raw And Regular Chocolate?

organic raw chocolate - Raw cocoa beans

Chocolate is a favourite food for many of us at this time of year, with fun treat-filled advent calendars and giant tins of Quality Street doing the rounds in your workplace. However, like many of the good things in life, it’s best enjoyed in moderation because unfortunately over-snacking on chocolate is not great news for your health.

Regular chocolate is high in fat and sugar, and tends to load on unwanted calories very quickly. This can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. 

If you still crave the rich and satisfying taste of chocolate but want to make healthier food choices, then you might want to consider substituting it with raw organic chocolate. This retains all the wonderful chocolatey flavours and aromas, but it is made with minimally-processed cacao beans, hence the title ‘raw’.

Instead of being roasted as the cacao beans are during regular processing, they are sun-dried and ground at low temperatures to preserve the natural enzymes and nutrients. The exact preparation method varies depending on the manufacturer, but generally foods that are not heated above 42°c are considered to be raw.

This means that the finished product has a much higher concentration of antioxidants and other nutrients. Regular cocoa powder that you might use to make a sweet drink is basically a product from the fruit of the cacao tree that has been heated at very high temperatures.

While it does contain some nutrients, many of these are minimised during the heating process.

Raw cacao products contain flavonoids, which have antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties. This may help to lower blood pressure, and may help to thin the blood. This reduces the chance of developing blood clots that can cause deep vein thrombosis, and also heart attacks and strokes. 

Some studies suggest that products rich in cacao can help to manage spikes in blood sugar levels after eating, which means that they could be suitable for people with type 2 diabetes. They may also boost insulin levels to help regulate blood sugar. 

Cacao is also rich in potassium, which can help to reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation in the body can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Antioxidants present in cacao may reduce damage from free radicals, which can slow down the ageing process and lower the risk of developing cancer. 

Furthermore, raw cacao contains many essential vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iron, magnesium, and copper, that support healthy bones, digestion, blood flow and more.

Raw chocolate may have other ingredients added to it such as dairy and sugar, or it can be fully vegan and sugar-free. It does have a different flavour profile to regular chocolate, with an intense and fruity taste and a grainier texture, so you may want to try a few different  types or even make your own with cacao powder. 

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