The Health Benefits of Cocoa Powder
Derived from the cacao tree, cocoa powder has a rich history nestled in the ancient Meso-American cultures. Olmecs, one of the first inhabitants of modern day Mexico, are credited with the discovery of the cocoa fruit. After years of consumption, they found various uses and derivatives of this unique treat.
Overtime, neighboring civilizations like the Mayans and Aztecs began incorporating cocoa into their diets, and ceremonies. Much like sugar, cocoa was a symbol of wealth and prosperity; sometimes used as currency between varying regions.
When Columbus conquered the Americas in 1502, he saw firsthand the potential of this elusive fruit. Deeming it “brown gold” Columbus and other conquistadors brought cocoa back to Spain and leveraged it as trading goods. From there, cocoa was transported across many lands and cultures. Today, we can still see hints of its ancient roots when we drink coffee or consume chocolate bars.
Benefits of cocoa
Out of all the variations of the cocoa fruit, raw cocoa powder is revolutionizing the health industry. Formerly seen as an occasional treat, this superfood is jam-packed in vitamins and nutrients. From reducing inflammation to improving mental clarity and cognition, the health benefits are endless. Let’s consider a few.
1. Reduces Inflammation
Pure cocoa powder is rich in polyphenols and flavanols. These powerful compounds are responsible for reducing the signs of inflammation within the body’s immune system. When consumed without being processed, the body absorbs the nutrients at an optimal level.
2. Stabilizes Blood Levels
A 2017 study compared the blood pressure levels of individuals living in Central America. They were divided into two groups, those who consumed cocoa and those who didn’t. Researchers found that the participants who had a diet consisting of raw cocoa experienced stabilized blood levels and lowered blood pressure.
Cocoa powder is composed of powerful flavanols that words hand-in-hand to stabilize nitric oxide levels in the human bloodstream. When these levels are balanced, blood pressure is immediately lowered which results in improved cardiovascular function.
3. Improved Memory and Mental Clarity
Cocoa powder is widely recognized as a brain superfood. By promoting healthy blood flow to the brain, this increases mental sharpness and the ability to retain information. This was proven in a 2008 study. Researchers administered cocoa to a group of 34 adults. Over a two week span, they saw a collective 18% increase in brain function.
Did you know? It takes 5 years for a cocoa tree to produce its first seed pods.
4. Increased Mood
When individuals are in a great deal of stress, chocolate is usually one of the main things they reach for. In fact, popular commercials even depict chocolate bars as a tasty mood stimulator. Although comical, there is some truth to claims. Cocoa or cacao powder has been found to increase the production of serotonin, the happy hormone. One study found that pregnant women who consumed chocolate on a regular basis experienced less stress within themselves and their unborn child.
Since chocolate products are derived from cocoa powder, it’s safe to assume that the above notions are valid. An additional study found that when individuals added cocoa to their beverage of choice, they experienced an overall reduction in anxiety.
5. Weight Suppressant
Wouldn’t it be great if you could eat loads of chocolate and meet your fitness goals? Well, researchers believe that cocoa powder may be that happy medium between weight management and tasty food. A recent study discovered that cocoa powder could be a natural appetite suppressant. Since cocoa powder is naturally caffeinated, it’s safe to conclude that it supports fat oxidation and metabolic rate.
However, it should be noted that consuming pure cocoa powder is vastly different from loading up on chocolate bars. Instead, individuals who are seeking to reap the health benefits of cocoa powder would do well to add it in its purest form to smoothies or chocolate powder for desert alternatives.
6. Weight Management
One of the most frustrating things about dieting is cutting out sugars. With Cocoa powder, individuals who are watching their diet can experience the best of both worlds. Pure cocoa powder gives individuals that subtle sweetness they’ve been craving without loading up on the sugar.
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Collagen is a key protein for our body and one of the most abundant. Unfortunately, it is mostly absent from our standard modern diet. You can find collagen in many parts of your body including your muscles, your digestive system, the bones, your skin, face, tendons and even your blood vessels. For tendons and joints, you can imagine collagen as the adhesive that keeps our bones together.
As we get older, our body produces less collagen of its own. We can see this happen when we experience joint pain, additional or more visible imperfections on our youthful face and other similar challenges to our health and overall vitality.
Nutrition and lifestyle have an impact on the level of collagen of our body and can lead to collagen depletion. It is a good idea to always try to maintain good levels of collagen to avoid having depleted collagen levels in our organism.
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Natural Cocoa Powder is packed with health benefits that are designed to ward off potential illnesses and improve your quality of life. When choosing the best cocoa powder, it’s wise to purchase from a reputable company who is known for delivering quality products. This guarantees full nutrient absorption and increased benefits.