You might be surprised to know that cocoa has been shown to improve sleep quality! Keep reading because this isn’t all…
You might be thinking that you need to cut back on all the chocolate in your diet, but this article will teach you about some surprising health benefits of cocoa. It’s true that too much chocolate can lead to weight gain and other health issues, but it turns out not all chocolate is bad for you.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between cocoa and chocolate, this article will clear your confusion away! COCOA VS CHOCOLATE POWDER – How Are They Different?
Just hold your horses, we’re about to reveal the 4 health and nutrition benefits of cocoa that make you go “Wait, what. Really?!”.
Health Benefits of Cocoa
- Rich in Polyphenols Highly Linked to Various Health Benefits
Polyphenols: The “Superhero” antioxidants found in foods like fruits, vegetables, tea, chocolate, and wine.
They are natural compounds found to provide a variety of health benefits such as reduced inflammation and improved cholesterol.
Cocoa is a true powerhouse of polyphenols. It’s especially packed with flavonoids (a family of polyphenolic compounds also found naturally in plant foods) that have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
- May Lower High Blood Pressure
Cocoa – either in its processed powder forms or dark chocolate forms have been tied to lowering blood pressure levels.
To prove this point, several studies have shown that the consumption of cocoa-containing foods can improve blood pressure level. One study revealed that cocoa-drinking island people of Central America had much lower blood pressure than their non-cocoa-drinking mainland relatives in the short term. Another meta-analysis study also found that consuming cocoa-based products for seven days have brought positive change in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
These favourable changes can be explained by the presence of high level flavanols found in cocoa improves the level of nitric oxide in blood, which relaxes and dilates arteries and blood vessels, as well as improves blood flow.
- Benefits as a Sleep Aid
You may have heard of the habit of getting ready for bed with a cup of hot cocoa or chocolate, but did you know that there’s actually science behind it?
Tryptophan, an amino acid found in many supplements and foods (like cocoa!) have positive effects on mood and symptoms of depression. But wait… How does that have to do with sleep? Simply because your sleep can be affected by stress or anxiety.
The conversion of tryptophan to serotonin (a happy hormone that promotes positive feelings and stabilizes mood) and melatonin (referred as a ‘sleep hormone’ involved in your sleep-wake cycle) helps to calm your body down and ultimately, allows you to fall asleep better.
Studies show that individuals who are feeling psychologically stressed, anxious or worried have a hard time falling and/or staying asleep. In addition to these feelings causing psychological distress, it also has physical consequences including disturbed sleep patterns.
So, if you ever experience any of those feelings, cocoa to the rescue!
- Great for Ladies for Menstrual Cramp Relief
The pain of menstrual cramps is every woman’s nightmare, and cocoa can be considered as a ‘cure’ for the pain. Word of mouth has spread that cocoa is a woman’s best friend when it comes to menstrual cramps. Though there isn’t much research about this, we believe this comes as no surprise, considering the high levels of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron found in cocoa can help to relax the muscles and effectively reduce menstrual pain.
Besides, it can also uplift your mood (as stated in point 3) without you having to consume as many calories. If you’re looking for a natural and yummy way to beat PMS, you can try Cocoa!
- Easy to Include in Your Diet
Although there is no consensus on the exact amount of cocoa you should consume each day to reap health benefits, researchers suggested incorporating cocoa sources with higher flavanol content and less processed – in order to see benefits.
There are many healthy ways to add cocoa to your diet, in fact the possibilities are endless! Here are some creative and tasty cocoa recipe ideas:
- Sprinkle over fruit like bananas and strawberries
- Add cocoa to your favourite granola bar mixture
- Add raw cocoa powder to homemade puddings
- Mix into brownies, fudge, or chocolate mousse
- Dust energy bites (Amaze-balls) with cocoa powder to make them look like truffles, but healthier!
On a side note, there are several articles that claim Cocoa has other benefits such as:
- Improve symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
- Helps with weight loss and control
- Play a role in cancer prevention
However, there is no conclusive evidence to support the above statements and a clear indication on how much cocoa is ideal. Hence, more scientific research is required.
At the end of the day, cocoa still has a lot of health benefits and is still the better alternative choice for those who want to reduce their sugar intake. If you want to maximize health benefits, make sure to use products that contain higher cocoa content, stick to reasonable portion sizes, and combine it with a healthy balanced diet.
Millilitre’s 55% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Powder can be used as both a health-conscious and deliciously satisfying addition to your favorite recipes. It is the perfect choice for people who want to stay healthy but still enjoy their chocolate fix! The 55% dark variety will satisfy even the most discerning of tastes, without sacrificing any nutritional value in favor of flavor.