Pure cacao powder is made by cold pressing raw cacao beans, while cocoa powder is made by pressing cacao beans that have been roasted with heat. Cocoa powder provides less nutritional value than cacao powder.
When raw cacao powder is pressed out of cacao beans, only fat is removed, creating the by-product known as cacao butter. The nutritional enzymes found within cacao beans are present in cacao powder. In contrast, when cocoa beans are roasted so that they may be pressed into cocoa powder, exposure to high heat alters the molecular structure of the cacao beans, resulting in a loss of enzymes.
Raw cacao has been found to have a high level of the antioxidant resveratrol. This antioxidant helps to protect the nervous system. It also aids in the reduction of both blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.