Cocoa Benefits

What is cocoa? It’s a spice that’s made into chocolate and is what gives chocolate well that yummy flavor we all know and love. Chocolate is only as good as its cocoa content.  The darker the chocolate the higher the cocoa content which is what you want to reap all the benefits of cocoa that is.  Why is cocoa so healthy?  Cocoa is rich in flavanols, which are one class of polyphenols that are present in plants.  Several studies show that people who consume flavanol rich cocoa powder or eaten in dark chocolate (defined by most studies as 74% cocoa) have a much healthier heart than those who don’t.  Flavanols can help to lower cholesterol, reduces LDL oxidation, lowers blood pressure, increased nitric oxide, more flexible arteries, survival rate after a heart attack goes up, Swedish researchers found that 1,169 people who had heart attacks 27% of those who suffered the attack were less likely to die 8 years after the heart attack, because they ate chocolate twice a week compared to those who didn’t eat chocolate at all.  So you want to eat your chocolate but make sure you are eating the dark, not the milk chocolate,  the dark chocolate remember the higher the cocoa content the higher the flavanols, polyphenols, and antioxidants.  Try out some chocolate bars that contain 60% then work your way up from there it will be a little bitter but your taste buds will get used to it. If you want to buy your own cocoa beans that’s even better you can find cocoa beans that have already been roasted all you have to do is take the outside shell off and then you can start to make your own chocolate, cocoa nibs are just whole beans that have been crushed.  So you can find cocoa nibs at your health food store and still make something yummy.  I like to add the cocoa nibs or beans to my smoothies, I like to cook and even bake with them I will take a hand full and throw them into my cookie recipes or in my vegetables that I have sauteed.  You have to play around with it.  You can only do your heart a favor by adding cocoa beans or nibs to your diet.  I have tried making my own chocolate using cocoa beans and I am still perfecting it. So as soon as I have a recipe down I will share it on here, if you have a chocolate recipe please share!  Below are a few pictures showing what roasted cocoa beans look like

 

 

 

 

References:

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2012/01/30/ajcn.111.023457.abstract,

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/3/541.full,          http://archive.ispub.com/journal/the-internet-journal-of-cardiovascular-research/volume-7-number

Healing Spices, Bharat B. Aggarwal,

 

 

 

This is what a cocoa bean looks like out of the shell.

cocoabean1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cocoabean2

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