How often do you gawk on the stack of chocolates neatly displayed at the stores? Don’t they just invite you to fill in your basket so you can slip into your pyjamas once home, play your favourite Netflix series and enjoy every bite of the chocolates? This also increases a fear of gaining weight among many, ultimately resulting to worries and promises to not repeat the same again. However, how aware are you that there are dozens of benefits of eating chocolates?
Of course, if you stuff yourself everyday with those sugary and calorie dense chocolate products that are attractively stacked in every departmental store, you will probably increase your weight and also be prone to several health issues. Chocolates are made from cocoa powder, which is extracted from cocoa beans and have ample nutritional benefits as well as health advantages. It is produced by squeezing the fat out from bitter chocolate, typically known as cocoa butter, while the remains are powdered.
Theobroma cacao is the scientific name for cocoa tree which literally means, “Food of the gods”. Also boasting a rich history with stories symbolising culture, love and religion, this superfood is a complete package of antioxidants, minerals and much more, necessary to bless an individual from staying at bay from a number of health concerns. Before giving you an insight into the ocean of benefits of cocoa powder, let us first take you to a small journey of its nutritional facts.
- An approx of 230 kcal, 60 g carbohydrates, 20 g protein and 14 g fat makes 100 g of cocoa
- Cocoa is also one of the rich sources of nutrients like iron, zinc and magnesium
- Cocoa solids are the remains of many substances after cocoa butter is extracted from cacao beans
- 2 tablespoons serving of cocoa powder gives only 25 calories along with 3.6 g fibre
- While natural cocoa powder is light brown in colour, processed cocoa powder is brownish red or black
Cocoa beans are rich sources of flavanols that work as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Epicatechin is another flavonoid available which improves the flow of blood and lowers blood pressure by relaxing the muscles in blood vessels. Other important compounds include minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, sodium, phosphorous, zinc and more. Researches have found that people who take a moderate amount of cocoa powder tend to improve focus, concentration and their overall cognitive activities due to the presence of caffeine.
The divine chocolates you see on market shelves are filled with sweeteners and butter with little cocoa content contributing to only fat and calorie contents. If you wish to reap the many benefits of cocoa, ensure that you get your hands on those bars containing a minimum of 70% dark chocolate. Apart from this, you can also treat yourself by stocking up your kitchen with unsweetened cocoa powder and prepare delicacies like cakes, muffins, pancakes, milk shakes, smoothies and more.
Like mentioned above, cocoa is rich in a number of nutrients that serve to provide some fantastic benefits to one’s body:
- Green tea is known for containing antioxidants, but little may you have known that cocoa contains more of the substances than the herbal leaves. They help strengthen the immune system along with eliminating toxins and free radicals.
- Due to the presence of phenethylamine, cocoa powder is known for elevating one’s mood and act as a natural antidepressant. Sufficient amount of this chocolaty ingredient will improve an individual’s overall wellness and happiness.
- Iron presence in cocoa powder helps make red blood cells while magnesium generates energy and zinc is necessary for the development of immune system cells.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder is low in calories which makes it a perfect ingredient for those checking on weight and give themselves a delicious treat.
- Consuming cocoa products maintains a healthy brain, enhancing the flow of blood to the organ and improving one’s learning and concentration functions.
- Cocoa is known to reduce the levels of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and glucose.
- Several natural medicinal products contain cocoa extracts for their properties to heal wounds and eliminate the development of infections. Helicobacter Pylori bacteria is also eradicated when the substance is taken as medication.
- Cocoa releases neurotransmitters such as serotonin, anandamide and phenylethylamine in the brain contributing to reduced chronic fatigue illness.
So, the next time you go chocolate shopping, make sure that you pick those with lower sugar content and if possible, befriend raw organic chocolate powder to gain maximum benefits.