The Mayan civilization of Central America is believed to have used cocoa first.

It was introduced to Europe in the 16th century by Spanish conquerors, and quickly became popular as a medicine that promoted health.
Cocoa , Cocoa Powder : Health and Nutrition Benefits

Cocoa Powder is made with Cocoa beans crushed, and fat or cacao butter added.

Cocoa is today most renowned for its role in the manufacture of chocolate. But modern research has shown that it contains substantial compounds that can protect your health.

There are 11 advantages of Cocoa Powder for health and nutrition.

1. Rich in Polyphenols That Provide Several Health Benefits.

1. Rich in Polyphenols That Provide Several Health Benefits. Source : 2000agro.com.mx

Polyphenols are antioxidants which occur naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, tea, Chocolate and wine.

They have been associated with many health benefits, including lower inflammation, improved blood circulation, lower blood pressure, and increased cholesterol and blood Sugar levels.

One of the main polyphenol sources is cacao. In flavanols which have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, it is particularly abundant.


However, Cocoa being processed and heated will cause it to lose its beneficial properties. Reducing bitterness is also frequently handled with alkaline, resulting in a 60 per cent decrease in flavanol content (   Source ).

2. Can reduce high blood pressure by improving levels of nitric oxides

2. Can reduce high blood pressure by improving levels of nitric oxides Source : wikimedia.org

Cocoa   can   help   to   lower   blood   pressure,   both   in   its  

powdered   form   and   in   the   form   of   dark   Chocolate   ( Source ).  

This   effect   was   first   observed   in   Central   America's   cocoa-drinking   island   men,   who  

had   much   less   blood   pressure   than   their   non-cocoa-drinking   mainland   relatives   ( Source ).  

The   flavanols   in   Cocoa   are   thought   to   boost   blood   nitric   oxide   levels,   which  

can   enhance   blood   vessel   function   and   minimize   blood   pressure   ( Source 1 ,   Source 2 ).


One study evaluated 35 studies that delivered 0.05–3.7 ounces (1.4–105 grams) of Cocoa products to patients, or about 30–1.218 mg of flavanols. It found that Cocoa provided a small but significant reduction in blood pressure of 2 mmHg.

In addition, the impact in people who already had high blood pressure was greater than those without it and in older people relative to younger people ( Source ).

SUMMARY*

Studies show that Cocoa is rich in flavanols, which reduces blood pressure by raising levels of nitric oxide and the function of the blood vessels. Cocoa containing flavanols between 30–1.218 mg will reduce blood pressure by an average of 2 mmHg.

3. Could lower your risk of stroke and heart attack

Besides reducing blood pressure, Cocoa tends to have certain properties that can decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke   .

Flavanol-rich Cocoa increases the blood's level of nitric oxide, calming and dilating the arteries and blood vessels and increasing blood flow   .

Moreover, Cocoa has been found to reduce "poor" LDL cholesterol, have a similar aspirin-like blood thinning effect, increase blood sugars, and decrease inflammation   .

Such features were associated with a lower risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke .


A analysis of nine studies in 157,809 people showed that there was a substantially lower risk of heart disease, stroke and death associated with higher Chocolate intake.

Two Swedish studies have shown that Chocolate consumption is associated with a lower heart failure risk at doses of up to one serving of 0.7–1.1 ounces (19–30 grams) of Chocolate per day, but the effect was not seen when eating higher quantities.

These findings indicate that daily intake of small quantities of cocoa-rich Chocolate will provide the heart with protective benefits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

SUMMARY*

Cocoa has the ability to improve blood flow and reduce cholesterol. Eating up to one Chocolate serving a day will reduce the risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

4. Polyphenols improve blood flow to the brain and liver

Several   studies   have   shown   that   polyphenols   like   those   in   chocolate,   by   enhancing  

brain   function   and   blood   flow,   can   reduce   the   risk   of   neurodegenerative   diseases.  

Flavanols   can   cross   the   blood-brain   barrier   and   are   involved   in   the   biochemical  

pathways   for   the   operation   of   your   brain   that   generate   neurons   and   essential   molecules.  

In   turn,   flavanols   affect   nitric   oxide   production,   which   relaxes   your   blood  

vessel's   muscles,   increases   blood   flow   and   blood   supply   to   your   brain.  

A   two-week   study   of   34   older   adults   with   high-flavanol   Cocoa   showed   that   blood   flow  

to   the   brain   increased   by   8%   after   a   week   and   by   10%   after   two   weeks.


Recent   research   indicate   that   regular   consumption   of   Cocoa   flavanols   in  

people   with   and   without   mental   illness   may   enhance   mental   output.  

Such   findings   indicate   a   positive   role   for   Cocoa   in   brain   development   and  

possible   beneficial   effects   on   neurodegenerative   disorders   such   as   Alzheimer's   and   Parkinson's   disease.  

There   is   therefore   a  

need   for   further   research.

SUMMARY*

Cocoa flavanols can promote the growth of neurons, brain function and increase blood flow and supply to brain tissues. We may play a role in preventing age-related brain degeneration, for example in Alzheimer's disease, but further work is needed.

5. Can improve mood and symptoms of various types of depression

5. Can improve mood and symptoms of various types of depression Source: article.images.consumerreports.org

Besides the beneficial effect of Cocoa on age-related mental degeneration, its effect on the brain can also boost mood and depression symptoms.

The beneficial effects on mood can be attributable to the flavanols of cocoa, the conversion of tryptophan to the natural mood stabilizer serotonin, its amount of caffeine or simply the sensory enjoyment of chocolate.

One research on Chocolate consumption and stress rates in pregnant women showed that more frequent Chocolate intake was associated with lower stress and better baby mood.

In addition, another study found that drinking high-polyphenol Cocoa increased relaxation and satisfaction.

In addition, a study in senior men found that Chocolate consumption was correlated with improving physical health and psychological well-being.

Although the findings of these early studies are encouraging, more work is needed on the impact of Cocoa on mood and depression before it can draw more definitive conclusions.

2. Can reduce high blood pressure by improving levels of nitric oxides

Cocoa may have some beneficial impact on mood and depressive symptoms by rising stress levels and promoting calmness, contentment and overall psychological health. There is therefore a need for further research.

Source : wikimedia.org

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