Cocoa (Theobroma Cacao) is a cash crop. It is a tropical evergreen tree grown for its edible seeds. Its seeds, called cocoa beans, are processed into cocoa powder, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor and chocolate.
Cocoa powder: Cocoa powder, an unsweetened chocolate product, adds deep chocolate flavor to desserts and beverages. Cocoa powder occurs when the fat, called cocoa butter, gets removed from the cacao beans during processing. The leftover dried solids get ground into the product sold as cocoa powder. Cocoa powder provides iron, magnesium, zinc, and manganese and delivers 2 grams of fiber per tablespoon. It helps lower blood pressure and improves cholesterol. It also contains omega 6 fatty acids, which can protect against heart disease.
Cocoa butter: Cocoa butter is a type of fat that comes from cocoa beans. To harness cocoa butter, the beans are taken out of the larger cacao plant. Then they’re roasted, stripped, and pressed to separate out the fat—the cocoa butter. The remnants are then processed into cocoa powder. Cocoa butter is a major ingredient in practically all types of chocolates (white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate) and is also a staple in skin creams and other health and beauty products. It is rich in antioxidants which are helpful for lowering inflammation, enhance immunity and improve heart health. Due to its moisturizing properties, cocoa butter helps to prevent stretch marks, chapped lips and skin and also moisturizes dry and itchy skin
Chocolate: Chocolate is a sweet confection made from cocoa beans. Chocolate contains very small amounts of copper, iron, zinc, and protein, but not enough to be considered a good source of these nutrients. Chocolate has large quantities of flavonoids called catechins, which may benefit heart health. However, processing cocoa into candy greatly reduces the flavonoid levels unless the manufacturers take steps to preserve those phytochemicals. And, of course, chocolate bars are loaded with sugar and calories.