Many of us love chocolate and, while those things that we love often turn out to be sinful and forbidden, chocolate and cocoa can actually be good for our health. And here are 12 reasons why:
1. Cocoa plant flavanols (these are called epicatechins) help our artery walls to relax and so improve our blood vessel function. We can get the equivalent of 450 mg of flavanols by drinking a cup of hot cocoa twice a day.
2. Consumed daily for at least 2 weeks, cocoa (the darker the better) can reduce blood pressure among people with severe hypertension.
3. Dark chocolate and cocoa are rich in antioxidants that fight cancer.
4. Dark chocolate and cocoa are rich in in antixoidants that strengthen the immune system and such a strong immune system helps to prevent us from developing all sorts of bacterial, viral and other conditions and diseases.
5. Dark chocolate and cocoa are rich in antioxidants that slow aging.
6. Dark chocolate and cocoa will not cause our cholesterol levels to rise. Cocoa beans contain approximately 50% fat made up of two saturated fatty acids (palmitic and stearic acids) and one mono-unsaturated acid (oleic acid).
7. The antioxidant flavinoids found in the non fat portions of the cocoa bean help reduce the blood's ability to clot, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attacks.
8. Cocoa beans contain a very low amount of caffeine, much less than found in coffee, tea and cola drinks.
9. Phenylethylamine is a slight antidepressant and stimulant - similar to the body's own dopamine and adrenaline.
10. Cocoa and chocolate can increase the level of serotonine in the brain. This is very important in those people with depression, or perhaps experiencing PMS symptoms, who might have decreased levels of serotonine.
11. Cocoa beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese plus the beans have high levels of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and pantothenic acid.
12. chocolate and cocoa are delicious!
And the only downside about the delectable chocolate and cocoa?
Yes it can be fattening because the cocoa bean contains a number of carbohydrates, but most of these are starch, soluble dietary fibers, and insoluble dietary fibers. Just a very small proportion is simple sugars.
The problem can arise when sugar is added during the manufacture of chocolate.