Who would love chocolates? Kids, teens, and even adults love chocolates. However, do you know what are used in making your favourite chocolates? If you answer cocoa, then you’re right! In today’s day and time, cocoa is most popular for its own role in the production of the chocolates we love to eat. Nevertheless, modern studies revealed that it does contain lots and lots of essential compounds that may benefit the health. The health benefits of cocoa are so many, but are all for the betterment of the health. Give this article a read if you want to know more about this amazingly good cocoa.
Cocoa: A short history and description
About 1500 AD, one Spanish soldier who’d witnessed the emperor of Aztecs, Moctezuma II and who’s part of the conquest of Mexico, identified that he took has taken no other beverages than chocolate. They served the chocolate drink in a golden goblet as well as flavored with vanilla. Furthermore, his chocolate drink was also whipped into a foam, which dissolved in the mouth. Doesn’t it sound yummy? That’s it, that was the first ever introduction of cocoa to the Europeans. This is also the time when it became very popular in the mid 17th century. And the rest is history.
Cocoa actually refers to the low-fat component of the finely ground cocoa beans, which are the fermented seeds of the cacao tree. The ground beans, also called the cocoa liquor may also contain cocoa butter. This is a non-dairy and naturally stirring fat that’s present in the cacao beans. In the actual fact, about 50 to 60% of the cocoa liquor contains cocoa butter. Furthermore, cocoa comes from the Theobroma cacao tree, which is native to the Central and South America.
Cocoa is very rich in polyphenols, including flavones, flavonols, catechins, flavanones, anthocyanins, and isoflavones. From all of the foods that promise a reduction of cardiovascular risk, cocoa is on top. It beats onions, red wine, apples, and the tea. This is mainly because of its high antioxidant properties together with its polyphenols content. This provides a great protection for the cardiovascular system. Well, the reason for this is that the cocoa is capable of thinning out the blood in order to avoid any blood clots. Moreover, it also has the same benefits in helping you avoid blood clotting, just like aspirin.
Nutritional Facts Of Cocoa
100 grams of cocoa powder may possess the following nutrients:
|Principle||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Total Fat||13.70 grams||46%|
|Dietary Fiber||37 grams||97%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.254 milligrams||5%|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||0%|
|Vitamin C||0 milligrams||0%|
Health Benefits of Cocoa
Here are some of the most amazing health benefits of cocoa:
- May possess cancer-protective properties. Out of all foods, cocoa has the highest concentration of flavonols. Remember, flavonols have cancer-protective properties, few adverse effects, and low in toxicity levels. This is one of the best health benefits of cocoa.
- May help improve type 2 diabetes symptoms. Even though excessive consumption of cocoa is not good for the health, generally in blood sugar control, it still has anti-diabetic effects. As a matter of fact, high intake of flavonols may slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, and stimulate the sugar uptake in the blood.
- May help in improving depression and mood disorders. The flavonols in the cocoa are beneficial in improving the mood, as well as the symptoms of depression.
- Helps in improving blood flow. The polyphenols in the cocoa are beneficial in reducing the risk of various neurodegenerative conditions through the improvement of blood flow and brain function.
- May help lower the risk of stroke and heart attack. The rich levels of flavonol in the cocoa are beneficial in improving the level of nitric oxide in the blood. This dilates and relaxes the arteries and the blood vessels in order to improve the blood flow.
- Rich in polyphenols. The polyphenols are naturally arising antioxidants present in various fruits and vegetables, wine, chocolate, and even in tea. These are beneficial in providing lots and lots of health benefits.
How to Add Cocoa in the Diet?
The exact amount of cocoa that you must consume in your diet in order to achieve the health benefits of cocoa is not much clear. Nevertheless, authorities suggest 2.5 grams of high-flavonol cocoa powder or about 10 grams of high-flavonol dark chocolate that contains about 200 milligrams of flavonol every day in order to achieve the heart health benefits. Nonetheless, this number has deemed very low by various researchers, who claim that higher amounts of it are necessary to acquire all the benefits.
Ways to add cocoa to your diet:
- Granola bars
- Sprinkle over fruits
- Vegan chocolate mousse
- Cold or hot cocoa
- Dark chocolate
Overall, it is important to select the sources of cocoa, which have high content of flavonol –the lesser processed it is, the better.