best cacao powder

The Best Cacao Powder Supplements: 6 Organic Cacao Powders Reviewed

Cacao is the term used when referring to the Theobroma Cacao tree and unprocessed cacao beans. Not only does cacao powder have a rich chocolate taste, but it’s packed with numerous health benefits that make it worth adding to your daily diet.

Only the highest-quality products contain both the sweet taste and numerous health benefits of true organic cacao powder, but before we get into which products stand out among the rest, let’s take a closer look at the many things cacao powder does for your health and well-being. 

After that, in this ultimate guide, we’ll be discussing the 6 best cacao powder options on the market today!

What is Cacao?

Cacao is the purest, most basic form of chocolate that comes from the seeds of a cacao tree. Cacao, in its raw form, comes from cacao fruit that contains between 20-50 cocoa beans each. 

Those beans are then processed into a raw powder. If the beans are processed at a high temperature (roasted) they become cocoa. If a low temperature is used, the result is the slightly less sweet variations of cacao that contain higher levels of beneficial nutrients. When unroasted cacao beans are cold-pressed, raw cacao powder is produced. 

Cacao Improves Cognitive Performance

In a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, researchers studied the effect of cocoa flavanol on brain function. Scientists explored the neuroprotective effects of cacao to gain a better understanding of how the antioxidants in cocoa powder – flavonoids, in particular – influenced cognitive performance.

The study revealed numerous antioxidant effects, including:

  • Improved mood and fewer mood swings
  • Decreased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease
  • Decreased risk of stroke
  • Improved blood flow to the brain <1>

Scientists are continuing to look into the connection between flavanols and mood enhancement, but research suggests that the compound PEA, or phenethylamine, found in cacao triggers the release of endorphins and can have mood-boosting effects. 

There are also several studies that have linked cacao to feelings of calmness and contentment as well as a decrease in feelings of depression. <2>

General Health Benefits of Cacao

Products made from the cacao plant, such as cacao powder or cacao nibs, contain beneficial nutrients that improve your general health. <3>

Researchers at the University of California, Davis found that nutrients in cacao have antiangiogenic effects that enable them to stop the signals that activate cells that would potentially lead to diseases like cancer, skin diseases, diabetic ulcers, age-related blindness, and more. <4>

Nutritional Benefits of Cacao

Cacao powder is a tasty way to add essential nutrients to your diet. Just one serving per day contains a healthy dose of the following: 

  • Magnesium
  • Protein
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Fiber

Cacao & Improved Cardiovascular Health

Cacao powder is loaded with flavonoids, or nutrients that can reportedly help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart and brain, which helps in preventing blood clots. It also contains high amounts of potassium, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and therefore decrease the risk of heart disease. 

Less inflammation also means a lower risk of some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, depression, and more. 

Cacao vs Cocoa: What’s The Difference?

Cocoa powder and chocolate are made with cacao, but they have been roasted and chemically processed. As cacao goes through traditional processing in an effort to reduce bitterness and create a more palatable flavor, it loses a significant amount of antioxidants and flavanols. 

Why The Best Cacao Powder is Organic

To produce organic cacao, the farming process should maintain and replenish the soil for cacao trees without using pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides. Unfortunately, regular cocoa powder, milk chocolate, and other products of conventionally grown cocoa contain high levels of pesticides and other chemicals. That’s bad news for anyone who consumes chocolate regularly. 

How to Know if Your Cacao Powder is Organic

The easiest way to tell if the cacao powder you’re considering buying is organic is to look for the USDA Certified Organic label on the package. This label can be found on either the front or back of the package. 

When a product is labeled USDA Certified Organic, it means there were no preservatives, artificial colors, or GMOs used in the production of that product. 

1. BetterBody Foods — Organic Cacao Powder

The organic cacao powder from BetterBody Foods is a much healthier alternative to regular chocolate. This organic powder tastes like regular chocolate but has the added benefits of cacao. You can replace ordinary cocoa powder with BetterBody Organic Cacao Powder and enjoy your favorite recipes with less fat and fewer calories. 

The cacao powder from BetterBody Foods has just one ingredient: organic cacao sourced from Peru. It contains zero sugar and is keto-friendly and USDA-certified organic. A single tablespoon of BetterBody Foods’ Organic Cacao Powder provides 2 grams of fiber, 8% of the daily value of magnesium, and 6% of the daily value of vitamin C. 

Ingredients

  • Organic cacao powder

Specifications

  • Size: 1 pound (16 ounces, 454 g)
  • USDA certified organic, non-GMO, kosher-certified
  • Country of origin: Peru

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2. Viva Naturals — Certified Organic Cacao Powder

Viva Naturals Cacao Powder differs from traditional cocoa in that it’s derived from Criollo cacao beans, which are recognized as the highest-quality types of cacao. Criollo beans are ground into a powder that has a much less bitter taste. Additionally, this cacao powder is unprocessed and therefore still contains vital nutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, protein, and fiber and is loaded with antioxidants to protect the body against free radicals. 

Just a tablespoon of organic cacao powder from Viva Naturals in your morning cup of coffee provides an immediate mood and energy boost. It can also be added to shakes, smoothies, and baked goods for an extra punch of flavor and nutrition. 

Ingredients

  • Organic cacao powder (theobroma cacao)
  • May contain peanuts, tree nuts (coconut), milk, and/or soy

Specifications

  • Size: 2 pounds
  • USDA certified organic

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3. Healthworks — Cacao Powder

Healthworks Cacao Powder is made from hand-harvested cacao beans sourced from small organic farms in Peru, that are milled into a fine, flavorful powder. This powder is keto-friendly, non-GMO, and USDA-certified organic. 

This organic superfood not only has a rich taste, but is loaded with plant-based antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, and potassium. It’s sugar-free and low in carbohydrates, which makes it the perfect addition to just about any diet. 

Cacao contains theobromine, which is a natural stimulant that provides an immediate energy boost. It can be added to or mixed into just about any food or drink for an easy and delicious nutrition boost, without the guilt. 

Ingredients

  • Organic cacao powder

Specifications

  • Size: 16 ounces
  • Country of Origin: Peru
  • USDA certified organic

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4. Terrasoul Superfoods — Raw Organic Cacao Powder

This cold-pressed cacao powder from Terrasoul is a delicious, nutrition-packed product that makes a great addition to just about any food or drink. Each serving is loaded with magnesium and other nutrients, making it a healthier ingredient than ordinary cocoa powder, but with the same chocolatey flavor.

Raw cacao powder from Terrasoul Superfoods is certified organic, earth kosher, non-GMO, keto-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan. Each serving of this powder is full of antioxidants that protect your body at a cellular level against free radicals, giving you clearer, more radiant skin. 

Ingredients

  • Organic cacao powder

Specifications

  • Size: 1 pound
  • USDA certified organic, non-GMO

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5. Anthony’s — Organic Raw Cocoa Powder

Anthony’s Goods is a company that strives to provide the highest quality products, which often means producing less-refined goods that are more nutrient-dense. The cocoa powder from Anthony’s isn’t treated with alkali which means it’s a less refined, more flavorful product. It’s also organic which guarantees there won’t be pesticides and chemicals in your cocoa powder. 

The raw cocoa powder from Anthony’s is perfect for mixing into hot chocolate, baked goods, smoothies, and more. 

Ingredients

  • Organic cocoa powder (theobroma cacao)

Specifications

  • 5 pounds
  • USDA certified organic
  • Unsweetened, non-alkalized — 10-12% fat content
  • Imported from: South America

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6. Zen Spirit — Cacao Powder Organic

The organic cacao powder from Zen Spirit is a high-quality product sourced from tropical rainforests in Ecuador. There, cacao beans are hand-picked, made into cacao nibs, then carefully ground at low temperatures, resulting in the top-rated cacao powder distributed by Zen Spirit.

Raw cacao beans are naturally high in antioxidants and contain substantial amounts of calcium, protein, and magnesium. Adding cacao to your daily diet can help to strengthen your immune system, reduce inflammation, protect your skin, and promote cardiovascular health. Cacao is also often used to suppress appetite and provide a quick energy boost. 

Ingredients

  • Organic cacao nut

Specifications

  • Size: 1 pound (16 ounces)
  • USDA certified organic
  • Country of origin: Ecuador

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References

  1. Nehlig, Astrid. “The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance.” British journal of clinical pharmacology vol. 75,3 (2013): 716-27. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04378.x
  2. Sokolov, Alexander N et al. “Chocolate and the brain: neurobiological impact of cocoa flavanols on cognition and behavior.” Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews vol. 37,10 Pt 2 (2013): 2445-53. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.06.013
  3. De Araujo, Quintino Reis et al. “Cocoa and Human Health: From Head to Foot–A Review.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition vol. 56,1 (2016): 1-12. doi:10.1080/10408398.2012.657921
  4. Kenny, TP, Keen, CL, Jones, P, Kung, H-J, Schmitz, HH & Gershwin, ME 2004, ‘Pentameric Procyanidins Isolated from Theobroma cacao Seeds Selectively Downregulate ErbB2 in Human Aortic Endothelial Cells’, Experimental Biology and Medicine, vol. 229, no. 3, pp. 255-263.

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