The moment we hear cocoa we go straight to chocolate. Apart from being an instant mood booster, cocoa has a lot of other health benefits. Cocoa powder has high amounts of flavonoids which help with the various functions of our body, specially with the cardiovascular functions. If you have not been consuming cocoa already, in some form or the other, MH brings to you 5 health benefits of cocoa powder which will convince you to add some of it in your diet.
1. Cocoa Can Be Used To Reduce Blood Pressure
Cocoa is said to be more useful than coffee or tea when it comes to reducing blood pressure. A study done by the University of L’Aquila, Italy in 2017 proved that flavonoids, which are found in abundance in cocoa, produce nitric oxide in our bodies. This relaxes the muscles of the blood veins, providing a better blood flow, which in turn results in stable blood pressure. Dark chocolates or just cocoa powder consumption is highly recommended for people suffering from high blood pressure.
2. Cocoa Reduces The Risk Of Heart Attacks
The same study proved that the nitric oxide produced makes it easier for the blood to flow through the arteries and blood vessels, reducing the chances of a heart attack or a stroke. Another study done at Cocoa Research Centre, Brazil in 2016 proved that cocoa has the properties to reduce LDL cholesterol in blood, which is also considered as bad cholesterol. In addition, it has blood thinning properties like aspirin, reducing the chances of a heart stroke even more.
3. Cocoa Can Help With Type 2 Diabetes
A study done by the Institute of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition in 2017 proved that the cocoa consumption has a direct relation to Type 2 diabetes. The flavanols have the ability to improve insulin production and glucose metabolism in the body. Furthermore, it has the capability to reduce inflammation in diabetic as well as non-diabetic people.
4. Cocoa Improves Blood Flow To The Brain
The polyphenols present in cocoa are known to have the ability to decrease the risk of neurodegenerative diseases by improving blood flow in the muscles. In the study done in 2013 by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, France proves that the flavonoids present in cocoa have the ability to produce nitric oxide which relaxes the muscles of the blood veins, improving blood flow. The study also proves that regular consumption can improve the mental performance of people.
5. Cocoa Improves Mood And Symptoms Of Depression
Apart from all the other benefits that cocoa provides, studies also show that it is a mood booster. It is known to provide a feeling of calmness and content on consumption. A study done in the University of Tübingen Medical School, Germany in 2013 showed that there can be various reasons for this change in moods such as the high concentration of flavanols that are present in cocoa, the high amount of caffeine or the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin which is the natural mood stabiliser.
There are various ways in which cocoa can be consumed without compromising on its benefits. You can add it in granola bars, mix it with milk to make hot cocoa, add the powder in smoothies or just consume it in the form of dark chocolate.