7 Health benefits of Cocoa

The Cacao tree is a small equatorial tree of the Sterculiaceae family. Its genus tells us “Theobroma” means “food of the gods”, so we are dealing with a tree full of promises. The cocoa tree gives rise to the pod, which contains the cocoa beans.

It is these seeds that we call “food of the gods”, the raw and natural form of chocolate. As they are not roasted, the cocoa beans retain a raw, powerful, quite bitter and refined flavor. Cocoa beans can be eaten whole, crushed, or in powder form without roasting.

Certainly, this step develops the aromas of the chocolate, but it inevitably destroys the beneficial bioactive compounds of the Cocoa.

Among superfoods, Cocoa has nothing to be ashamed of with its numerous therapeutic and nutritional properties. Caffeine, catechin, theobromine, magnesium, copper, manganese, vitamin D, vitamin B9, and various other nutrients and active molecules make up cocoa.

7 Health benefits of Cocoa

This incredible richness gives Cocoa a multitude of benefits, so much so that almost all the body’s systems benefit from it: toning, positive, cardioprotective, remineralizing, powerful antioxidant, bronchodilator, etc. In short, in cases of asthma, depression, muscle disorders, or even anemia,. Cocoa is a good option to add to your daily life.

Latin name: Theobroma Cacao.

Botanical family: Sterculiaceae.

Part used: Seed.

Recommended consumption

Cocoa has a high nutritional density and is full of beneficial nutrients. Therefore, it is not necessary to consume large quantities to benefit from its virtues.

  • A serving of cocoa powder is estimated at 4 to 8 g per day, which represents 1 to 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder per day.
  • A serving of cocoa beans is estimated at 10 g per day, which represents 7 to 10 beans per day.
  • A serving of crushed cocoa beans is estimated at 10 g per day, which represents 2 to 3 teaspoons of crushed cocoa beans per day.
In what form ?

To make the most of their benefits, you can use them:

  • In powder
  • Whole
  • In pieces
At what time of the day ?

We advise you to use them during the following meal(s) to make the most of their benefits:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • In case
  • Dinner
What methods of use?

You can include them in the following preparations to make them easier to take:

  • Dessert
  • Yogurt, dairy
  • Flat
  • Alone
  • Mixed with other dried fruits
  • Drink, water

Health benefits of Cocoa

6 g of Cocoa contains a significant portion of the Nutritional References for the Population (RNP) of the following nutrients: Fiber, Copper , Iron , Manganese and Potassium . They also contain, to a lesser extent, Protein, Vitamin B9 , Vitamin C , Calcium , Magnesium , Phosphorus , Selenium and Zinc .

As such, Cocoa can complement your healthy and varied diet.

1. NERVOUS SYSTEM, WELL-BEING

Cocoa contributes to preventing iron or zinc deficiency, which results in a decline in intellectual performance. In addition, Cocoa has a high energy density and provides magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, copper, iron, vitamin B9, theobromine, theophylline and caffeine. These molecules are involved in energy metabolism, help reduce fatigue and have a general stimulating power.

It also fights against stress with its positive and euphoric power. Indeed, magnesium promotes muscle relaxation, and tryptophan contributes to the regulation of serotonin (happiness hormone). Finally, cocoa would stimulate the secretion of anandamide; the latter is nicknamed “pleasure molecule”, etc.

2. CARDIAC SYSTEM

Cocoa is naturally rich in potassium and low in sodium. This winning combo helps maintain normal blood pressure.

In addition, it would be beneficial in combating hypertension because it would reduce the risk of thrombosis and protect the integrity of blood vessels. However, be careful of excess cocoa, which potentially increases blood pressure due to its caffeine content.

3. METABOLISM

The nutritional composition of cocoa helps prevent the appearance of so-called civilizational diseases. The fibers it contains are hypoglycemic, hypocholesterolemic, and hypotriglyceridemic.

In addition, scientific research has demonstrated that a diet rich in antioxidants from cocoa reduces the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative disorders. Note that Cocoa is one of the plants with the highest concentration of antioxidants.

These nutrients reinforce the benefits of a varied and balanced diet.

4. CIRCULATORY SYSTEM

The synthesis of red blood cells requires an optimal intake of iron, copper and vitamin B9, micronutrients present in Cocoa (see our nutrition guides: iron deficiency anemia and vitamin B9 deficiency anemia ).

In addition, cocoa flavonoids help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood circulation. Without forgetting magnesium and zinc, they will help maintain acid-base balance.

5. MUSCLES AND JOINTS

Cocoa fights against involuntary and sudden muscle contractions through its supply of magnesium, potassium and calcium.

A deficiency of one of these minerals promotes the appearance of muscle disorders. In addition, the vitamin D present in Cocoa powder increases the absorption of calcium, facilitating the action of this mineral on the muscular system.

In addition, cocoa is a superfood suitable for gaining muscle mass; it is rich in vitamin B9 and zinc and is involved in protein metabolism. As part of a sporting activity, it supports muscle anabolism.

6. IMMUNE SYSTEM
Cocoa, and more precisely, cocoa powder, is excellently rich in immunomodulating micronutrients. It provides iron, copper, selenium, vitamin B9, zinc and vitamin D. All are known to support and strengthen the action of the immune system, so they should obviously be integrated into a healthy diet.

7. BODY, FACE AND HAIR CARE

Through its contribution of copper, cocoa powder prevents the deterioration of the skin caused by the sun’s radiation. Copper also modulates hair pigmentation through its involvement in the synthesis of melanin. Cocoa powder also provides zinc and selenium; they are known to strengthen and regenerate nails and hair.

MAIN PROPERTIES

  • Tonic (threobromine, theophylline, caffeine): Cocoa contains substances such as theobromine, theophylline and caffeine: alkaloids which have a slightly exciting effect. In addition, the iron and magnesium present in Cocoa help reduce fatigue. Phenylethylamine (PEA) is present in large quantities in raw cocoa. It is a chemical substance naturally synthesized by our body; it strengthens concentration and the state of alertness.
  • Antistress (tryptophan, magnesium): Cocoa contains tryptophan and magnesium. Tryptophan participates in the synthesis of serotonin (stress management). Magnesium reduces muscle tone, which gives Cocoa relaxing power.
  • Positive (tryptophan,  tertrahydro-isoquinolines, caffeine, threobomine, salsolinol): these components could give Cocoa an optimizing power. The relationship between Cocoa and mood is quite complex and certain points still remain to be clarified. However, hypotheses have been put forward to explain this renewed optimism after its consumption.
  • Antioxidant (flavonoid, polyphenols, tocopherols, copper, selenium, vitamin B9, zinc): Cocoa is rich in flavonoids (catechin and epicathechin), polyphenols, copper, selenium, vitamin B9, zinc and tocopherols. These active compounds are known to be part of the antioxidant defense system by neutralizing free radicals. Its ORAC score is estimated at 55,653 µmol TE/100 g and its FRAP score at 13.74 mmol/100 g; these two scores both indicate very high antioxidant power. Many sources consider Cocoa to be the food with the highest concentration of antioxidants.
  • Cardioprotective (lipid): Cocoa is 1/3 made up of stearic acid, a saturated fatty acid. The latter is one of the rare saturated fatty acids that does not cause cardiovascular problems. In addition, it is composed of another third of monounsaturated fatty acids: oleic acid, which has cardioprotective power. Let’s not forget its strong antioxidant power, which prevents oxidative stress resulting from myocardial damage, as well as its extreme richness in potassium, which helps maintain normal blood pressure.
  • Contributing to energy metabolism (lipid, carbohydrate, magnesium, iron): Cocoa has predominantly lipid energy. Lipids are the macronutrients that provide the body with the most energy: 9 kcal per 1 g of lipids. In addition, it provides magnesium, calcium, copper, phosphorus, vitamin B9, zinc, and iron; they participate in the catabolism of macronutrients to produce ATP, that is to say ‘energy.

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