It is thought that the cocoa was first used by the Maya civilization of Central America; it was introduced to Europe by the Spanish conquerors in the XNUMXth century and quickly became very popular.
Cocoa powder is obtained by crushing the cocoa beans and removing the fat or cocoa butter. Cocoa today it is most famous for the production of chocolate, but it actually contains important compounds that can have health benefits!
Let's find them all!
Cocoa is rich in polyphenols which offer numerous health benefits; polyphenols are natural antioxidants found in foods such as fruit, vegetables, tea, chocolate and wine.
They help reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels in the blood.
However, processing cocoa into chocolate or other products can substantially decrease the polyphenol content.
Cocoa may reduce high blood pressure by improving nitric oxide levels; this effect was first observed in island populations of Central America, who drank cocoa and had significantly lower blood pressure than continentals who drank the same cocoa.
Risk of heart attack and stroke
As mentioned before, cocoa is rich in flavonols, improves the level of nitric oxide in the blood, which relaxes and dilates the arteries and blood vessels, improving blood flow.
Also, it was found that cocoa reduces bad LDL cholesterol, improves blood sugar and reduces inflammation.
The polyphenols contained in cocoa can reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases by improving brain function and blood flow.
Flavonols can cross the blood-brain barrier and are involved in biochemical pathways that produce neurons and molecules important for brain function.
Mood and depression
As well as the positive impact of cocoa on age-related mental degeneration, its effect on the brain can also improve mood and symptoms of depression.
The positive effects on mood may be due to cocoa flavonols, the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin (mood stabilizer) and the content of caffeine.
Type 2 diabetes
Cocoa has some anti-diabetic effects; The flavonols in cocoa can slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates in the intestine, improve insulin secretion and stimulate blood sugar absorption.
Cocoa intake can determine a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Cocoa helps control the regulation of energy use, reducing appetite and inflammation and increasing fat oxidation and satiety.
People who consume chocolate more frequently, they have, on average, a lower ICM than those who do not consume it.
Properties against cancer
Test-tube studies of cocoa have shown that it can have antioxidant effects, protect cells from damage by reactive molecules, fight inflammation and induce cancer cell death.
It may be useful for people with asthma, as it contains anti-asthmatic compounds, such as theobromine and theophylline; theobromine helps fight a persistent cough and theophylline helps the lungs to dilate and the airways to relax.
Teeth and skin
It contains several compounds with antibacterial, antienzymatic, and immunostimulating properties, which may contribute to its effects on oral health.
And you, do you eat cocoa? Let us know in the comments and remember to follow us on our telegram channel
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