Cocoa: Benefits, Types, Characteristics For Our Health

Have you ever heard that cocoa is healthy, right? Learn why cocoa, in addition to being a delight, is considered one of the most powerful functional foods that exist for health .

Cocoa characteristics

Cocoa is a fruit with a hard shell and a color ranging from whitish yellow to dark red; It can be up to 20 cm in length and contains a white or reddish-pink pulp with seeds. From these fully fermented and processed seeds, the part used in chocolate , the cocoa butter, is extracted .

The beans are very rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties. The pulp contains fiber, glucose and sucrose, vitamins A , B1, B2, C, niacin and minerals such as magnesium , copper, chromium, manganese , zinc, iron, phosphorus and calcium and a large amount of antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals , preventing diseases.

Cocoa also contains phytonutrients such as phenylethylamine, theobromine, catechin, epicatechins, and many polyphenols, such as flavonoids, which benefit the nervous and cardiovascular systems. These phytonutrients contribute to good cognitive functioning (learning, memory and critical thinking), because they help improve blood flow in the brain. It contains tryptophan, which is important in the production of serotonin.

The 9 Benefits of Cocoa

Benefits of Cocoa

  1. B ueno heart : cocoa polyphenols are beneficial for cardiovascular health and may reduce blood pressure Also. It is an excellent source of magnesium, which reduces the risk of blood clots. This in turn reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
  2. Food Source : Grains reduce anxiety, while providing alertness.
  3. Natural antidepressant : Cocoa beans contain dopamine, phenylethylamine (PEA), and serotonin, which are used to improve mental health and good mood. On the other hand, they also contain inhibitors of monoamine oxidase and amino acid tryptophan. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors work to keep dopamine and serotonin in the bloodstream for longer, which can ease depression and promote feelings of well-being.
  4. Good for the brain : Cocoa can help you think better. Flavonoids increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. For example, senile dementia is due to reduced blood flow to the brain.
  5. Excellent for the skin : Cocoa contain some substances such as retinol, ascorbic acid and B vitamins . Cocoa is used in masks that help improve skin hydration and oxygenation. The acid present in the cocoa pulp exfoliates slightly, eliminating dead cells and smoothing fine lines. The antioxidants contained in cocoa help slow down the aging process .
  6. Good for PMS (PreMenstrual Syndrome) : Tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin, is also an ally in protecting the vagina, increasing female lubrication, and relieving pain and symptoms of PMS.
  7. Good for diabetics : Cocoa also helps the body metabolize sugar and reduce insulin resistance.
  8. Good for the intestine : Cocoa helps regulate the intestinal flora, as it contains flavonoids, which serve as food for probiotic bacteria, which, in turn, reside in the intestine.
  9. Improves immunity : Helps the immune system to stimulate the production of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that defends the body against viruses and bacteria.

We are going to place special emphasis on this more extensive explanation of point 8

Avoid intestinal problems

organic cocoa beans

In addition to providing basic and essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals, cocoa is high in flavonoids, substances that serve as food for the good bacteria that live in the intestine – the so-called probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. This benefit of cocoa in our microbiota, a group of microorganisms that live in the intestine, helps prevent episodes of constipation, diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease associated with cancer and colitis.

But not only that, the improvement of the microbiota also increases the absorption of nutrients, strengthens the immune system and even prevents food allergies . Only these effects already provide a better body as a whole, as currently the brain is considered the second or even the first of all organs, according to some experts. This organ is important for the control of various processes that occur in our body and the brain controls everything.

After knowing all these benefits, you should be cautious before eating chocolate. These are some tips to ensure the benefits of this fruit:

  • Preferably choose a chocolate with no or low sugar content (it cannot be the first ingredient on the label)
  • Avoid milk chocolate
  • Give priority to products in which the fat is only cocoa (cocoa butter)
  • Do not consume products that have been made with hydrogenated vegetable fat.

In addition to chocolate, another healthy way to consume this fruit is through cocoa powder, a good option to replace milk chocolate rich in milk and sugar, and can be used in many recipes.

How to consume cocoa?

consume cocoa

Cocoa nibs

The cocoa beans are roasted, peeled and crushed . The cocoa beans are made with gourmet cocoa, which follows strict specifications of fruit selection, variety of grain, characteristics, fermentation and dehydration of the almonds, thus demonstrating the quality of the raw material. Cocoa beans are high quality foods that preserve all their nutrients, making them a great option to complement your meal. You can combine them with fruits (like a large banana cut into small pieces), yogurt, and vitamins .

Cocoa paste

Cocoa paste is produced entirely from cocoa beans and is available in units or bars. After being crushed, the cocoa beans are compressed so that they are into tablets and at the same time retain their healthy fat, as well as the butter. It is considered the purest form of chocolate and is becoming very popular and appreciated. It is easily edible, and can be used in recipes in general, in a pure and nutrient-packed state, and with a smooth dark chocolate flavor.

Cocoa powder or Cocoa powder

Cocoa powder

You can hardly buy a high quality, pure cocoa powder. This is because the process for the manufacture of this type of product comes from roasted cocoa, which is subjected to temperatures of up to 130 ° C. This process transforms the healthy fats in cocoa into rancid or saturated matter . Anyway, it is still infinitely better than the “milk chocolate” sold in supermarkets, since it does not contain sugar and artificial substances.

If you find it very bitter and you need to add sugar, I recommend that you read this article about sugar: types, advantages and calories , we also give you a much healthier option, Coconut sugar: the best of all sugars!

Vitamin recipes with cocoa

Cocoa vitamins with banana

Cocoa vitamins with banana

  • 200 ml of almond milk
  • A banana
  • A tablespoon of cocoa powder, cocoa beans, or a piece of cocoa mass
  • Cinnamon to taste

Preparation: Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Add ice if desired and serve immediately.

Vitamin from cocoa with green banana biomass

  • 200 ml of almond milk
  • A tablespoon of cocoa powder, cocoa beans, or a piece of cocoa mass
  • One tablespoon of green banana biomass

Preparation: Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Add ice if desired and serve immediately. As for the milk , it does not necessarily have to be almond: it can be coconut, sesame , walnut or oatmeal.

Is it the same as cocoa and chocolate?

cocoa and chocolate

Chocolate and cocoa are different foods . Incidentally, depending on the chocolate, sooo different. Cocoa is the pure form, it is full of nutrients, and it is excellent for your health (especially if it is organic).

However, chocolate has only a small fraction of cocoa . The vast majority of its composition is sugar, milk, hydrogenated fats, preservatives, flavorings and emulsifiers. So if you don’t have access to high-quality pure cocoa, always prefer a chocolate with at least 70% cocoa.

Where to buy pure organic cocoa

There are times when we buy cocoa in specialized organic product sites, but if we don’t have any nearby, it is best to buy it online , we leave you several that have come in handy for us:

  • Organic Pure Cocoa Powder in Bag
  • Sevenhills Wholefoods Organic Cocoa Powder 1kg
  • Valor Chocolates – Defatted Pure Cocoa Powder – 250 g
  • Pure Organic Cocoa Powder in can
  • Organic defatted cocoa powder BIOSPIRIT (250 g)
  • Super Dark Mug – Mexican dark chocolate with 85% cocoa – 2 round tablets of 38.5 g

Pure cocoa beans :

  • Sevenhills Wholefoods – Organic Raw Cocoa Beans, 500 grams
  • Cocoa Bean Chunks 200 Gr of El Oro De Los Andes
  • Organic RAW COCOA Beans 150 gr Organic Cacao Nibs SUPERFOOD VEKINE Raw Chocolate Nibs
  • Organic Raw Cocoa Beans | Delicious superfood, suitable for vegetarians and vegans | High in magnesium, fiber, potassium and iron | Certified Organic by the Soil Association | 250g bag | Cacao Nibs by TheHealthyTree Company
  • Cocoa beans 200 gr of Purasana

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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.

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