Table of Contents
- 1 Provides essential minerals and fiber
- 2 Assists in keeping you disease-free
- 3 Bolsters cardiovascular health
- 4 Helps cure constipation
- 5 Aids in reducing obesity
- 6 Lowers the risk of diabetes
- 7 Assists in healing bronchial asthma
- 8 Enhances cognitive function
- 9 Aids in maintaining a healthy skin
- 10 Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels
- 11 Boosts Mood
Chocolate is a weak point for many a person, with the majority of people being unable to resist their intense cravings for chocolate.
But it is a universal fact that the chocolate that is commonly available in the market is chock-full of unhealthy ingredients like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, preservatives, etc.
The health benefits of cocoa – the main ingredient that chocolate is based around, are submerged under the harmful effects of all the other unhealthy ingredients.
To put it in perspective, cocoa powder is an immensely nutritious food that has a plethora of health beneficial effects.
Also when it comes to its consumption, there are plenty of ways to incorporate it into your diet.
It can be sprinkled over oatmeal, added to smoothies, cookies, cakes, or consumed as delicious hot cocoa – a delectable beverage that has become a mainstay in the menu of premium coffee shops across the U.S.
Furthermore, the calorie-dense nature that is a universal facet of the various chocolates available in the market these days is not an attribute that applies to cocoa powder.
This is because it is extremely low in calories, with one tablespoon of cocoa powder accounting for a mere ten calories.
Fundamentally speaking, cocoa powder is an excellent health-enhancing food that you can include in your diet to satisfy your chocolate cravings while simultaneously boosting your health.
Here are some of the significant health perks of including cocoa powder in your daily diet:
Provides essential minerals and fiber
Cocoa powder is a delicious way to meet your body’s requirement of certain essential minerals and fiber.
Just a single tablespoon of cocoa powder provides an incredibly high two grams of fiber.
Along with that, it also contains the minerals iron, magnesium, zinc, and manganese, with one tablespoon supplying three to nine percent of the daily recommended intake of these essential minerals.
Assists in keeping you disease-free
Green tea and red wine have seen a massive rise in popularity and consumption over recent years as a result of the high levels of antioxidants they contain.
But as a matter of fact, cocoa has been shown to possess more antioxidants than green tea and red wine.
Cocoa powder is one of the first polyphenol-containing foods and as discussed before also is a rich source of flavonoids, both of which are potent antioxidants.
Antioxidants, as is common knowledge, are known to aid in keeping us disease-free by neutralizing the harmful free radicals in the body.
These free radicals can lead to the development of life-threatening diseases like cancer, heart disease, etc. thus signifying the importance of the role of antioxidants in our body.
Besides reducing free radicals, antioxidants have also been found to boost the immune system and aid in detoxifying the body by eliminating toxins.
Bolsters cardiovascular health
Cocoa is home to a variety of flavonoids (a diverse group of phytonutrients), particularly catechin, epicatechin, and procyanidin that help in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Flavonoids besides affording anti-inflammatory benefits have also been found to help relax blood vessels, enhance circulation, reduce blood pressure, thus helping boost cardiovascular health and decrease the risk of stroke & heart attack.
Additionally, cocoa is also an abundant source of polyphenol antioxidants that can decrease LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) in the body.
Helps cure constipation
Consumption of cocoa-based products can help in treating chronic constipation in people.
Cocoa powder has been found to aid in treating digestive disorders and disease related to bowel function.
A research study conducted on various pediatric patients found that cocoa, by its high-fiber content helps improve bowel function & movement, and affords relief from gastrointestinal discomfort.
Aids in reducing obesity
Some of the recent research studies have led scientists to believe that cocoa has potential benefits linked to the prevention of obesity.
It was found that regular cocoa consumption modulates lipid metabolism to reduce fatty acid synthesis in the body.
Lowers the risk of diabetes
The damage caused by free radicals has been associated with the development of several chronic diseases, with one of them being diabetes.
A research study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition resulted in the conclusion that consumption of cocoa leads to a reduction in insulin resistance.
This is significant with regards to decreasing the risk of diabetes, as insulin resistance is the primary factor responsible for the development of type-2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and prediabetes in human beings.
Besides that, cocoa has also been found to contain proanthocyanidins (a class of polyphenols) which help in inhibiting the development of cataract – one of the complications caused by diabetes.
Assists in healing bronchial asthma
Cocoa is an excellent food for treating bronchial complications, with it containing xanthine and theophylline – alkaloids which help in relaxing bronchial tubes, bronchial spasm, and constricted opening.
This results in an improvement in the breathing flow and in the curing of chronic allergies that lead to the acute stage of breath shortness and asthma.
Enhances cognitive function
The flavonoids present in cocoa have also been shown to cause an improvement in the cognitive function (memory, attention, processing ability) of the brain, thus boosting brain health.
Aids in maintaining a healthy skin
Cocoa is arguably the most appetizing natural food that can be consumed to maintain healthy skin.
Research studies have shown that the flavanols present in cocoa help in reducing scaling, the roughness of skin and the harmful effects of U-V rays from the sun.
Moreover, cocoa consumption has also been shown to improve skin elasticity, density, and hydration.
Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels
Cocoa powder is adequate food for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, as it has been shown to cause a substantial reduction in LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose level.
In addition to that, it also boosts the level of HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood, thus helping in curtailing the risk of heart disease.
Many people find chocolate to be an excellent mood enhancer and antidepressant.
This desirable effect is due to the cocoa content of chocolate.
Cocoa contains a couple of neurotransmitters (phenethylamine and anandamide) which act as a mood enhancer.
Phenethylamine does this by triggering the release of the neurochemicals endorphins, dopamine and serotonin whereas anandamide is known to cause feelings of happiness and joy.