Quick Health Tips: 10 Health & Nutrition Benefits of Cocoa Beans & Powder
How many of you love chocolate? Nearly everyone loves the taste and probably some of you would be expert in preparing various mouthwatering shakes and other edibles of chocolate. You love it but did you know when it was found? We knew, you won’t have any idea. Anyways, don’t worry because we’re here to help you know such interesting facts and health & nutrition benefits of common things directly from kitchen shelves.
So, the delights of cocoa are said to have been found as long ago as 600 AD. It was the Maya Indians, an ancient tribe whose descendants still have colonies in Central America, who first found it. Spanish conquerors introduced it to Europe in the 16th century and in just a span of a few years, it became a popular health-promoting medicine.
Cocoa is a little plant from which chocolate is made. Dark chocolate is produced by pressing deeply roasted cocoa kernels (beans) between hot rollers. And cocoa powder is made of crushed cocoa beans and squeezing the butter of cocoa that removes extra fat.
Today, cocoa plays a vital role in making chocolate. Whether it’s Cadbury or Ferrero Rocher, all leading companies are using cocoa to produce chocolates. However, modern researches have found that it contains some essential compounds that can benefit your health effectively. Here are the 10 amazing health & nutrition benefits of cocoa beans & powder.
1. Richness of Polyphenols
Polyphenols are naturally occurring antioxidants that provide several health benefits, including Flavanols. It is also available in some fruits, vegetables, tea, chocolate and wine. Cocoa beans are linked to various health benefits such as, reduced inflammation, increased blood flow, lower blood pressure and also improved cholesterol and blood sugar level. Cocoa is a rich source of Polyphenols but its processing and heating can cause it to lose all the health beneficial properties. So, you better follow the right process to consume cocoa because not all the products containing cocoa will provide the same health benefits.
2. It Improves Nitric Oxide Levels
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, also called hypertension, you better carry a piece of dark chocolate because both cocoa powder and dark chocolate made of cocoa powder can help lower the blood pressure naturally. It increases Nitric Oxide level in the blood, which can eventually increase the functions of your blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
3. Lower the Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
Apart from lowering your blood pressure, cocoa has other properties that may minimize the risk of heart attack & stroke. It contains Flavanol that improves the level of nitric oxide in your blood and helps your arteries relax and dilates. Cocoa powder also helps your blood vessels and improves blood flow. All these properties are linked to minimize the risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke.
4. Improve Brain Functions
Several researches have revealed that Polyphenols in cocoa are really helpful in minimizing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases by widening your blood vessels that results in better blood flow and improved brain functions as well. Other than this, cocoa beans are rich in flavanols that influence the overall production of nitric oxide, which relaxes muscles and blood vessels, improve blood flow and boost blood supply to your brain to ensure smooth brain functions.
5. May Help You Cope up With Depression
If we talk about the positive impact of cocoa on age-related mental degeneration, it’s really beneficial and may improve your mood and ease the symptoms of depression. Cocoa contains Flavonoid that may have a positive effect on your mood.
According to a recent survey over 50 percent of all people who commit suicide suffer from major depression. Most people opt for dark chocolate to handle their mood swings which is great, but the conversion of tryptophan to natural mood stabilizer is as pleasing as eating a chocolate. Cocoa-based products are good to improve calmness and have a positive effect on mood.
6. May Cure Type-2 Diabetes
Although overeating chocolate is not good for blood sugar, and cocoa beans & powder also have the same anti-diabetic effects. According to a test-tube research, Flavanols in cocoa beans & powder can slow down the process of carbohydrate digestion and improve insulin secretion, reduce inflammation and balance the intake of sugar out of the blood into the blood vessels & muscles.
Some other studies have shown that overconsumption of Flavanols, including those from cocoa, can minimize the risk of type-2 diabetes.
7. Can Help in Weight Control
If you’re worried about your weight, consuming cocoa even in the form of chocolate can help you control your weight. It is thought that cocoa may help by regulating the use of energy, minimizing appetite and reducing inflammation. It improves the fat oxidation and feeling of fullness.
8. Have Cancer-protective Properties
Flavanols rich fruits, vegetables and other foods can attract a great deal of interest due to their cancer-protective properties, lower toxicity and fewer side effects. Cocoa is the main source of Flavanols that is helpful in many diseases including cancer. Due to its highest concentration of Flavanols, cocoa can contribute to your diet and add some cancer-protective properties. It protects your cells against damage from reactive molecules, fights against inflammation and induces cancer cell death that helps prevent the spread of cancer cells.
9. Can Cure Asthma
Asthma is one of the most chronic inflammatory diseases that cause obstruction and inflammation in the airways and can result in life-threatening circumstances. If you’re diagnosed with asthma, cocoa may be beneficial for you. It contains anti-asthmatic properties, including theobromine & theophylline, which are similar to caffeine and prevent coughing, decrease inflammation and help lung dilates.
10. May help Teeth & Skin
Several studies have found protective effects of cocoa against cavities and other gum diseases. Cocoa is rich in many compounds that contain anti-bacterial, anti-enzymes and immune-stimulating properties that may contribute to better dental health and skin as well.
Cocoa has captivated the world for thousands of years with its amazing benefits and is an essential part of modern chocolates. There are several health benefits of cocoa. From life-threatening diseases to common health problems, cocoa is packed with several health benefits, including reduced inflammation, better heart rate, brain functions, blood sugar, weight control and healthy teeth & skin. Though chocolate is good, remember it contains fat and sugar as well.