Diet and Nutrition 2022

10 benefits of cocoa for he alth (and how to consume)

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10 benefits of cocoa for he alth (and how to consume)
10 benefits of cocoa for he alth (and how to consume)
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Cocoa is the seed of the cocoa tree and is the main ingredient in chocolate. This seed is rich in flavonoids, mainly epicatechins and catechins, in addition to being rich in antioxidants.

Because of its composition, regular consumption of cocoa can bring several he alth benefits, from helping to improve mood and blood circulation, to regulating blood sugar levels and protecting heart he alth, since not only has antioxidant action, but also anti-inflammatory.

To obtain the benefits, the ideal is to consume 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder a day or 40 g of dark chocolate, which is equivalent to approximately 3 squares.

Regular consumption of cocoa can provide several he alth benefits, the main ones being:

1. Improved mood

Cocoa is rich in theobromine, caffeine, phenylethylamine and tyramine, which is a precursor of tryptophan, which in turn is a precursor of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter related to the regulation of mood, heart rate, sleep and appetite. In this way, cocoa can help improve mood and fight the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

2. Prevents thrombosis

Cocoa helps prevent the development of thrombosis because it helps improve blood flow, which decreases the risk of blood clots due to its flavonoid content.

3. Helps regulate cholesterol

Cocoa is rich in antioxidant substances, helping to regulate circulating cholesterol levels, which helps to prevent the deposition of fat in the vessels, preventing the formation of atheromatous plaques and the development of cardiovascular diseases.

4. Prevents anemia

Cocoa is rich in iron and, therefore, its regular consumption can help prevent anemia, as iron is essential for the formation of hemoglobin, which is a component of red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen to the organism and that is normally in smaller amounts in case of anemia.

5. Decreases the risk of diabetes

Some studies indicate that cocoa could slow the digestion of carbohydrates at the intestinal level, in addition to protecting the cells responsible for producing insulin in the pancreas and improving insulin secretion. In addition, it could also decrease insulin resistance, which helps lower the risk of diabetes.

6. Prevents dementia

Cocoa is rich in theobromine, which is a compound with vasodilating activity, favoring blood circulation to the brain, helping to prevent neurological diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's, for example.In addition, cocoa is rich in selenium, a mineral that helps improve cognition and memory.

7. Regulates the intestine

Cocoa is rich in flavonoids and catechins that reach the large intestine, which could increase the amount of bifidobacteria and lactobacillus, which are good bacteria for he alth and have a prebiotic effect, helping to improve the functioning of the intestine.

8. Helps reduce inflammation

Because it is rich in antioxidants, cocoa is able to reduce cell damage caused by free radicals and inflammation. In addition, some studies indicate that cocoa consumption promotes a reduction in the amount of C-reactive protein in the blood, which is an indicator of inflammation.

9. Helps with weight control

Cocoa helps with weight control because it helps to decrease the absorption and synthesis of fats. In addition, when ingesting cocoa, it is possible to have a greater feeling of satiety, as it helps to regulate insulin, however this benefit is mainly associated with dark chocolate and not with milk or white chocolate, as they are rich in sugar and fat. and a small amount of cocoa.

In addition, cocoa powder should not be consumed together with products rich in calcium, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, as it has oxalic acid, a substance that reduces the absorption of calcium in the intestine, as this is possible to decrease the benefits of cocoa.

10. Lowers blood pressure

Cocoa can also help lower blood pressure, as it improves blood vessels by influencing the production of nitric oxide, which is related to the relaxation of these vessels.

Nutrition information

The following table shows the nutritional composition of 100 g of cocoa powder.

Nutritional composition 100 cocoa powder
Calories 365, 1 kcal
Protein 21 g
Carbohydrate 18 g
Fat 23, 24 g
Fibers 33 g
Vitamin B1 75 mcg
Magnesium 395 mg
Theobromine 2057 mg
Zinc 6, 8 mg
Calcium 92 mg
Iron 2, 7 mg
Sodium 59 mg
Phosphorus 455 mg
Vitamin B2 1100 mcg
Potassium 900 mg
Selenium 14, 3 mcg
Hill 12 mg

How to eat cocoa fruit

To consume the cocoa fruit, you must cut it with a machete to break its very hard shell. Then the cocoa can be opened and a whitish 'bunch' covered by a very sweet viscous substance can be observed, whose interior has the dark cocoa, which is known worldwide.

It is possible to suck only the white gum that surrounds the cocoa bean, but you can also chew everything, also eating the inside, and the dark part is very bitter and does not look like the chocolate it is. so well known.

How chocolate is made

In order for these seeds to be transformed into powder or chocolate, they must be harvested from the tree, dried in the sun and then roasted and mashed. The resulting mass is kneaded until cocoa butter is extracted. This paste is mainly used to make milk chocolate and white chocolate, while pure cocoa is used to make dark and semi-sweet chocolate.

See the differences and benefits of the main types of chocolate.

He althy Cocoa and Flaxseed Brownie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of brown sugar tea;
  • 1 cup of flaxseed flour tea;
  • 4 eggs;
  • 6 tablespoons uns alted margarine;
  • 1 ¼ cup of cocoa powder tea (150 g);
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour;
  • 3 tablespoons of white wheat flour.

Preparation Mode

Melt the butter in a bain-marie, add the cocoa and stir until uniform. Beat the egg whites, add the yolks and continue beating until the dough is pale. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. While slowly mixing with a spatula, add the cocoa, wheat and flaxseeds until uniform. Bake in a preheated oven at 230ºC for about 20 minutes, as the surface must be dry and the interior moist.

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