Discover the 20 shocking health benefits of Cocoa.
The benefits of cocoa are amazing: it can improve your memory, increase your happiness, reduce heart disease, lose fat, boost immunity, and create loads of energy.
For the Incas, it was the drink of the gods, an association that gave rise to the scientific name of cacao, Theobroma cacao, from the Greek words theo (god) and broma (drink).
Raw cocoa contains almost four times the antioxidant content of regular processed dark chocolate, 20 times more than blueberries, and 119 times more than bananas.
In addition, raw cocoa (naturally fermented) and processed chocolate that is sold in bars and pieces are two completely separate foods. Chocolate is made with roasted cocoa, sugar, milk, and other ingredients that make it a solid food.
Studies have found that adding dairy products blocks the absorption of antioxidants in chocolate. While processed chocolate is delicious, the benefits of cocoa are found only in the raw form.
Most of the natural cocoa available today has undergone a fermentation process (not roasted) that removes the bitterness.
Both raw cocoa beans and beans undergo the fermentation process to preserve antioxidants. If you are eating cocoa for the first time, we recommend using naturally fermented raw cocoa beans.
This intensifies the berry and coffee notes naturally found in the chocolate flavor. The intense flavor is similar to unsweetened dark cocoa powder or baker’s chocolate.
If you prefer milk chocolate then you can add raw cocoa to smoothies or mix it with other foods. Here are 20 surprising health benefits of cocoa.
Cocoa is one of the healthiest foods that can be consumed. Cocoa contains anandamide, known as the happiness molecule, which creates a feeling of euphoria.
Another mood-enhancing compound found in cocoa is PEA (phenylethylamine) or phenethylamine, which triggers the release of endorphins and pleasant neurochemicals like opium.
These are usually released naturally when we fall in love and during sexual activity. (The only other food on earth that contains PEA is blue-green algae.) Plus, these chemicals boost libido, which is probably why chocolate is so popular on Valentine’s Day or as a token of love.
Another benefit of cocoa is that it can increase the brain levels of serotonin, the brain chemical that makes you feel good.
When women experience PMS (premenstrual syndrome), serotonin levels drop dramatically.
These benefits are proven to increase brain levels of calming hormones and restore feelings of well-being.
Flavanols, an anti-inflammatory and heart-protective antioxidant found in raw cocoa can reduce the risk of stroke, protect against cardiovascular disease, and help improve blood circulation.
Cocoa contains more than 700 compounds, and the complex antioxidants found in it, known as polyphenols, help reduce “bad cholesterol” and prevent the hardening of the arteries. It’s mind-boggling to think that no heart drug on the market can come close to the protective benefits of cocoa.
The Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis, found that cocoa thins the blood and can prevent blood clots. This finding shows that eating raw cocoa can be just as beneficial as taking an aspirin a day.
One of the benefits of cocoa is that the polyphenol antioxidants found in it belong to the same group of antioxidants like green tea and red wine.
The anthocyanins found in dark-colored fruits and the catechins in green tea protect our cells from premature oxidation or destruction and can make us feel younger for longer.
Drinking a cup of hot cocoa before meals can help you lose fat. This is due to cocoa’s MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitors, which decrease appetite.
MAO inhibitors are often found in weight loss products. However, the unique MAOs in cocoa allow more serotonin to circulate in the brain. Do not consume more than 40 grams or four teaspoons of cocoa a day.
If you find the cocoa flavor too strong, add coconut milk, rice, or nut milk. Avoid dairy as it will prevent the absorption of antioxidants.
By gently heating and making your own delicious hot cocoa drink, you will release more antioxidants and increase appetite suppressant properties.
So it is recommended to add a teaspoon of cocoa powder in a coffee cup of hot water or milk and drink 10-15 minutes before your next meal.
It creates loads of energy and helps you fight fatigue, thanks to the highest concentrations of magnesium found in this natural food source.
Magnesium also helps protect against osteoporosis, reduces type II diabetes, and lowers blood pressure.
Raw cocoa powder (2 tbsp) contains 52 mg or 14% of the daily value Raw cocoa beans or beans per 100 grams contains 272 mg or 65% of the daily value.
Help you get shiny hair, strong nails, and take care of your liver and pancreas with this great source of sulfur.
Lower blood pressure naturally, in a study of 470 men from the Zutphen Elderly study, it was shown that the benefits of cocoa reduce blood pressure in patients who took a small amount each night.
The antioxidant properties of cocoa were also found to reduce insulin resistance and sensitivity in people with impaired glucose tolerance and smokers.
Another benefit of cocoa is that it can help improve the kidney and stimulate intestinal function.
Reset your metabolism and restore your internal balance with cocoa. Not getting enough antioxidants in your diet can have dangerous long-term health consequences.
A Swiss study in 2009 found that in less than two weeks cocoa reduced the stress hormone cortisol, improved metabolism, and even improved the microbial activity of the gut.
A recent study by London scientists found that participants who ate 20 grams of cocoa for 12 weeks were able to stay in the sun for twice as long as those who did not, without burning themselves.
In 2006 the Journal of Nutrition found that women who drank cocoa with at least 326 mg of flavonols a day had better skin texture, improved microcirculation, increased oxygen saturation, and improved skin hydration. Mix some cocoa powder in your cup of coffee or add to a smoothie.
German scientists found that cocoa can protect against harmful UV rays that cause cancer.
Recent studies from Tulane University found that among the benefits of cocoa especially in an extract of the powder it was even more effective than fluoride in preventing cavities. This caffeine-like crystalline extract helps to harden tooth enamel.
A Harvard study by Dr. Gary Small showed that middle-aged people who drank two cups a day had improved memory and increased blood flow to the brain.
Improves digestion thanks to the fiber found in raw cocoa, which stimulates the body’s digestive enzymes.
Your body needs fat contrary to what some health practitioners claim. Fats are the helpers that create chemical reactions for growth, immune and metabolic function.
The healthy fats found in raw cocoa are similar to the monounsaturated fat found in olive oil.
• 1 cup unrefined cocoa butter
• 1 cup coconut oil
• Combine and melt all ingredients in a double boiler (gently!).
• Place in a bowl and wait until it is cold, place in the freezer for 20 to 40 minutes. The mixture should be firm. Do not allow it to become completely solid.
• Beat the semi-solid mixture for 3-5 minutes until white peaks form. It will look like a thicker whipped cream.
• Collect in jars and cover.
• Chill for an hour in the fridge.
Note: if you live in a warmer climate you may want to store your mix in the refrigerator so it doesn’t melt. If it does then just beat it again.
• ¼ cup coconut flour
• 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
• 3 teaspoons stevia or sweetener of choice
• 1 cup of water
• Mix the coconut flour, cocoa powder, and stevia in a microwave-safe container
• Add the water and stir. Microwave for 2 minutes, stir well, 1 tablespoon of water may need to be added if using a different brand. Put it back in the microwave for another minute.
• Let cool for a couple of minutes and enjoy.
• 2 tablespoons raw cocoa nibs
• 1 peeled banana
• 1 tablespoon goji berries
• ½ cup frozen or raw raspberries
• 1 cup of coconut milk or nut milk
• Handful of ice
• 2 cups coconut or cashew milk
• 1 teaspoon of natural vanilla extract
• 3 ½ teaspoon raw cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon ground coffee (optional)
• Add all the ingredients to the blender for one minute.
• Transfer to the pot and heat gently
• Pour into cups and enjoy
Feel free to sprinkle cocoa nibs on salad, in your baked goods, or add to foods in place of nuts.
Enjoy the health properties of cocoa whenever you want.
Use natural raw cocoa to get the maximum benefit from chocolate as a superfood.