What comes first in the mind, when we think of cocoa, the yummy chocolate, hot milk shake, candies, etc., but do you know, what is actually cocoa?
Cocoa is the raw unsweetened powder extracted from cocoa plant beans. Cocoa powder is not equal to chocolate. It is the main ingredient added in chocolate cakes or brownies.
To Get Cocoa Powder, Cocoa has to go through different stages
- Firstly it goes through fermentation, dried and roasted.
- After beans gets roasted, hulls of the seeds are removed, processed and fat is extracted.
- The extraction of fat yields, cocoa butter
- The solids which are left over is the cocoa butter.
After the stages of purification and processing, cocoa powder contains high quality of fats. If it is mixed with hot water and hot milk, the “yummy cocoa drink” is ready.
Cocoa contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, K, E, zinc, iron, sodium, protein, fibre and low carbohydrates, etc.,
Health benefits of cocoa powder:
1. Cocoa lowers Blood Pressure:
It contain flavonoid, relaxes veins, improves nitric oxide level in the blood vessels, improve elasticity in blood vessel and lower blood pressure.
2. Cocoa Avoids Heart Disease:
The active compounds prevent blockages in the heart and improve the chance of blood vessels functioning in the heart. The nitric oxide levels improves blood flow in the heart. Cocoa contains blood thinning effect, lowers bad cholesterol(LDL), dilates and relaxes arteries, and thus prevents blood clot and heart stroke. It has hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic effects on glucose and cholesterol levels and works on cholesterol levels in the body and heart.
3. Cocoa Improves Brain Functioning:
Cocoa contain flavanoid and polyphenol, which creates new neurons in the brain and improves in enhancing and functioning of blood vessels. it works for the patients who suffers from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease and other neuro degenerative diseases. It is given to kids, who have problem in memory loss and for sharp brain
4. Cocoa Improves Mood Swings:
It works on the mood swings. Cocoa powder is given to age related degeneration, pregnant women, who go through the face of mood swings and depression. It contain flavorless, it converts tryptophan to serotonin, the natural mood stabilizer, which boosts the mood and gives pleasure to the brain. Cocoa contain polyphenols, which relaxes brain and works on mood swings
5. Cocoa Works on Constipation:
By eating cocoa regularly, constipation is avoided. By eating cocoa, there will be easy digestion, bowel movements and free stools.
6. Cocoa Lowers Type 2 Diabetes:
With limited consumption of cocoa powder, it slows down the carbohydrate digestion, improves insulin secretion, removes the excess of sugar out of blood into the muscle. Cocoa contains flavanols, which reduces insulin sensitivity, lowers blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation in diabetic people. According to studies, cocoa contains polyphenol which controls diabetes and prevents it
7. Cocoa Reduces Weight Loss:
Cocoa gives full energy all the day, lowers appetite, keeps stomach full, increases fat oxidation and aids in weight loss. It lowers BMI, if taken regularly and in limited amount. These are included in low carb diets, which lower carbohydrate levels and aids in weight loss.
8. Cocoa Kills Cancer:
Cocoa contains flavanols, procyanidins and antioxidant agents, which reduces Ornithine decarboxylase(ODC) enzymes , reduces and kills tumor cells. It contains anti-inflammatory properties, which inhibits and stops the reproduction of prostate cancer cells.
9. Cocoa Treats Asthma:
Cocoa contains anti-asthmatic compounds, theobromine and theophylline. These compound helps persistent with coughing, lungs to dilate, decreases inflammation and keeps airways relax. According to the recent study, it is seen that, cocoa reduces the constriction of airways and tissue thickness.
10. Cocoa Protects Skin:
Cocoa contains antioxidant which protects skin. Itcontain flavanols and polyphenols, which protects skin from UV rays, hydrates skin, improves blood circulation, improves oxygen concentration in the skin and makes skin softer.
11. Cocoa Heals Wounds:
Cocoa has the property of regeneration of skin cells. It disinfects wounds on the skin, heals the wounds and protects skin from UV rays.
12. Cocoa Reduces Cough:
Cocoa butter in combination with warm milk and honey is often given to those suffering from cough. Butter is often roughed on the chest and at back to reduce coughing.
13. Cocoa Gives Oral Health:
Cocoa contains anti-enzymatic properties, anti-oral and anti-oxidant properties, which works on teeth, oral and gum care.
Bottom line: Apart from the delicious hot chocolate and hot mix drinks, cocoa gives a better health, if optimisely used.