Cocoa is the dried and fully fermented seed of cocoa seeds.
It can be processed into a number of products including beverages and chocolate.
Cocoa is rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, copper and manganese.
It is a good source of selenium, potassium, and also provides the body with carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fibers.
Below are the many health benefits of cocoa:
Cocoa releases neurotransmitters like serotonin, anandamide, and phenylethylamine in the brain, which exert protective effects from oxidative stress and helps in combating chronic fatigue syndrome.
Good for the brain
The presence of major flavonols like epicatechin and catechin in cocoa help to boost brain activities.
It also reduces the chances of memory loss, brain damage and nuerodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson’s.
Cocoa is rich in dietary fiber which adds bulk to and allows smooth passage of faeces, thus keeping the colon healthy.
Supports good heart health
The flavonoids present in cocoa which have antioxidant properties help in protecting the cells from damage while strengthening the heart. Cocoa contains polyphenols, which are rich in antioxidants and prevents heart diseases. Cocoa is also rich in magnesium, copper, and iron, all of which are important in overall health and body function.
Cocoa is naturally endowed with neurochemical phenylethylamine which possess antidepressan effects that help to enhance mood, combat depression, and promote improved cognitive activities.
Flavonols and procyanidins present in cocoa inhibits the growth of cancer cells without affecting the growth of normal healthy cells
Also, ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) is an enzyme present in normal cells that can lead to cancer if in excess. Cocoa flavanols and procyanidins reduce ODC activity, therefore reducing the risk of developing tumors.
Cocoa contains a rich amount of copper, whose deficiency can lead to anaemia. The copper present in cocoa improves hemoglobin level, leucocyte count.
Supports weight loss
It contains cocoa butter, which is a mixture of monounsaturated fats like oleic acid and saturated fats, namely stearic acid and palmitic acid, all good cholesterol.
Good for diabetics
The consumption of cocoa can be effective in improving insulin resistance and glucose metabolism. This, in turn, aids in regulating sugar levels in the body. The proanthocyanidins derived from it help in inhibiting the cataract formation occasionally induced by diabetes.
Cocoa polyphenols, especially from dark chocolate, improve glucose breakdown, reduce blood pressure, and improve insulin resistance
Regulates blood pressure
Flavonoid in cocoa also acts as antioxidants that stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which helps to keep blood vessels relaxed and prevents an upsurge in blood pressure.
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