Eat one dark chocolate and keep yourself away from heart disease say experts. If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually nutritious. What is it that keeps our heart healthy in chocolate? From where and how do we get it?
It is the cocoa. We get this in chocolate in the processed form from the beans of coco trees. These trees are native to South America. In recent years researchers have found a number of health benefits deriving from these cocoa beans and it has become a globally acclaimed product.
Cocoa is regarded as one of the super foods as it contains high density of essential nutrients. The fruits of the coco trees are called cocoa pods. Inside white pulp there are several cocoa beans. These beans are taken out and made into cocoa butter. This butter is used to make toiletries, pharmaceuticals and ointments.
Cacao (kacow) is the raw unprocessed form of chocolate. These untreated seeds referred to as cacao beancan offer a wealth of antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals.
Inside each cocoa bean is cocoa nib and this is used to make chocolate after they are dried, processed and fermented.
Raw Chocolate Health Benefits
- Cocoa contains a good number of essential minerals such as Magnesium, calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese.
- It contains Polyphenols, atypeof flavonoids, which are known for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These polyphenols help reduce bad cholesterol and prevent hardening of the arteries.
- The flavonoids help your body process nitric oxide, which is why hot cocoa can improve blood flow, help lower your blood pressure and improve heart health. The flavonoids in hot chocolate also help prevent platelets in your blood from mingling together and forming clots.
- Cocoa also contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9 and vitamin E, essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat. Apart from all this there is Protein and Fiber.
- High levels of antioxidants in cocoa protect the body from buildup of free radicals from sun exposure, pollution, cigarette smoking, etc., which may damage healthy body tissue giving rise to cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- A sufficient amount of fiber delivered with each serving of cacao supports digestion while cacao stimulates the body’s production of digestive enzymes.
- Cocoa has amazing power to improve your memory, increase your bliss, shed fat, boost immunity, act as anti-depressant and create loads of energy.
- Cocoa boosts brain levels of serotonin, the feel good brain chemical. Cocoa has proven to boost the brain levels of calming hormones and restore the feeling of wellbeing.
- Drinking a cup of hot cocoa before meals helps shed fat. This is because of the ability to shrink appetite. By heating and making your own cacao beverage, you will release more anti-oxidants and increase appetite suppressant properties.
Some experts are even saying the health giving properties of cocoa will potentially benefit public health equal to or more than antibiotics. Studies have found that by adding dairy, actually blocks the absorption of antioxidants in chocolates. While processed chocolates may taste delicious, the benefits of cacao are only found in the raw form.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna