Cocoa is the seed of the cocoa tree and is the main ingredient of chocolate. This seed is rich in flavonoids such as epicatechins and catechins, mainly, and is also rich in antioxidants, so its consumption can have several health benefits such as improving mood, blood flow, and regulating blood sugar.
Besides being antioxidant, cocoa is also anti-inflammatory and protective of the cardiovascular system. To obtain these and other benefits, the ideal is to consume 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder per day or 40 grams of dark chocolate, which corresponds to 3 small squares, approximately.
1. Improves mood
Cocoa is rich in theobromine, caffeine, phenylethylamine, and tyramine, which is a precursor to tryptophan, which in turn is a precursor to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter related to the regulation of mood, heart rate, sleep, and appetite. In this way, cocoa can help improve mood and combat the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety.
2. Prevents stroke
Cocoa helps prevent the development of stroke because it helps improve blood flow, which decreases the risk of blood clot formation due to its flavonoid content.
3. Helps regulate cholesterol
Cocoa is rich in antioxidant substances, helping to regulate circulating cholesterol levels, which helps prevent fat deposition in the vessels, preventing the formation of atheroma plaques and the development of cardiovascular diseases.
4. Prevents anemia
Cocoa is rich in iron, and so its regular consumption can help prevent anemia, since iron is essential for the formation of hemoglobin, which is a component of red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen to the body and which is normally in lower quantities in the case of anemia.
5. Decreases the risk of diabetes
Some studies indicate that cocoa could slow down the digestion of carbohydrates at the intestinal level, as well as protect the cells responsible for insulin production in the pancreas and improve insulin secretion. In addition it could also decrease insulin resistance, which helps to lower the risk of diabetes.
6. Prevents dementia
Some studies indicate that cocoa could slow the digestion of carbohydrates at the intestinal level, as well as protect the cells responsible for insulin production in the pancreas and improve insulin secretion. In addition, it could also decrease insulin resistance, which helps to lower the risk of diabetes.
7. Regulates the intestine
Cocoa is rich in flavonoids and catechins that reach the large intestine, which could increase the amount of bifidobacteria and lactobacillus, which are good-for-health bacteria that exert a prebiotic effect, helping to improve bowel function.
8. Helps decrease inflammation
Because it is rich in antioxidants, cocoa is able to decrease cellular damage caused by free radicals and inflammation. In addition, some studies indicate that cocoa consumption promotes a reduction in the amount of C-reactive protein in the blood, which is an indicator of inflammation.
9. Helps in weight control
Cocoa helps in weight control because it helps to decrease the absorption and synthesis of fats. In addition, when ingesting cocoa it is possible to have a greater feeling of satiety, since it helps regulate insulin, however this benefit is mainly associated with dark chocolate and not with milk or white chocolate, since they are rich in sugar and fat and little amount of cocoa.
In addition, cocoa powder should not be consumed together with products rich in calcium, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, because it has oxalic acid, a substance that decreases the absorption of calcium in the intestine and thus decreases the benefits of cocoa.
10. Reduces blood pressure
Cocoa can also help lower blood pressure because it improves blood vessels by influencing the production of nitric oxide, which is related to the relaxation of these vessels.
There are several ways to ensure that chocolate is healthy. Ingredients should include cocoa butter instead of dairy, replace refined sugar with coconut sugar, exclude dyes, conservatives, additives such as artificial sweeteners. By choosing an organic chocolate you are also avoiding chemical and potentially harmful products such as pesticides.
Not all chocolates are created equally, but at Cocoa Soul we are doing everything we can to ensure that our chocolate is full of ingredients that are not harmful to health.