Discover the benefits of cocoa
It is believed that cocoa began to be used by the Mayan people in Central America, and was then brought to Europe in the 19th century. XVI by Spanish navigators. From an early age, it began to be used in medicine and food. It is known for being one of the ingredients in chocolate, but cocoa has much more to offer!
It is the fruit of the cocoa tree, a tree native to the tropical forests of South America, where it is still found in the wild today, from Peru to Mexico. However, 70% of world cocoa production comes from West Africa, mainly from Côte d'Ivoire (40%), Ghana (20%), Nigeria (5%) and Cameroon (5%).
There are records of the medicinal use of cocoa in many ancient civilizations, such as the Olmecs, Mayans and Mexicas (Aztecs). There are records of the use of cocoa in the treatment of some liver diseases and tumors. According to some other sources, the perception of cocoa not only as a drink but also as a medicinal plant to treat some disorders such as heart problems.
Cocoa is rich in polyphenols
Cocoa is an excellent source of polyphenols. Polyphenols have been the subject of many studies, and are now associated with benefits such as reducing inflammation, antioxidant action, better blood circulation, lower blood pressure, improving cholesterol and balancing blood sugar levels. However, when heated or cooked, they lose many of these properties. Therefore, it is recommended to consume cocoa in its most natural form, in nuggets or powder.
Flavonoids may contribute to reducing blood pressure
The flavonoids present in cocoa (a specific type of polyphenols) can help in the production of nitric oxide, which in turn can promote the elasticity of blood vessels and promote healthy blood circulation. Cocoa is the known food with the highest concentration of flavonoids.
Flavonoids may help prevent cardiovascular disease
If there is a reduction in blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular accidents and other heart diseases is also reduced. Furthermore, it has also been discovered that cocoa can help reduce LDL cholesterol (known as 'bad cholesterol).
Polyphenols may contribute to normal brain activity
Polyphenols, like those found in cocoa, can also help reduce the risk of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. By facilitating blood circulation, they also promote a good flow of blood to the brain, thus avoiding a series of diseases and complications.
Cocoa is an excellent source of tryptophan
The amounts of tryptophan present in cocoa are also a relevant aspect of the richness of this fruit. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is very important in the production of serotonin and melatonin, two important neurotransmitters in mood regulation.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that, together with niacin (vitamin B3) helps produce serotonin. Serotonin (5HTP) is a neurotransmitter molecule that interferes with various activities in our body, such as regulating sleep, appetite, sexual desire and our mood. It is also known as the happiness hormone. Tryptophan is also the precursor to melatonin. Melatonin is also a neurotransmitter, like serotonin, but its role in the body is to induce sleep.
Cocoa can contribute to weight loss
It is believed that cocoa can contribute to better energy regulation throughout the day, reduced appetite and decreased fat oxidation.
One study concluded that people who consumed a small amount of chocolate with a high cocoa concentration daily had greater weight loss compared to a group with a similar diet.
Cocoa is a good source of iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, fiber and omega-6
Iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, fiber and omega-6 are essential nutrients for our health, contributing, for example, to:
- A normal cognitive function
- Normal functioning of energy-producing metabolism
- Normal functioning of the nervous system
- A normal psychological function
- Normal transport of oxygen and iron in the blood
- Normal muscle functioning
- A normal metabolism of nutrients
- Normal functioning of cell membranes
- Protection of cells against oxidation of unwanted cells
Cocoa is tasty and full of benefits
There is no reason to wait any longer! Cocoa can be part of a tasty snack and is loaded with health benefits.