Cocoa is the fruit of cocoa tree, whose latin name is Theobroma cacao, which means "Food of the Gods”, that is cultivated in tropical areas near to equator. It is considered a superfood and cocoa seeds are the gold of this fruit. Chocolate has is its basis cocoa beans, which are dried and fermented cocoa seeds.
It is not easy to find a food associated with pleasure and at the same time with many health benefits, but chocolate is one of that exceptions. Chocolate is a delicious food and at the same time has many benefits provided by cocoa, when consumed with moderation.
Cocoa is a very nutritious food. Contains proteins, fats, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, carotene, vitamins E, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and C, which potentiate the health benefits of chocolate.
Cocoa is considered one of the foods with the highest concentration of antioxidants, such as flavonoids, which may impart antiaging properties. Maximum levels of flavenoids found in cocoa are greater than even tea or wine. Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals, responsible for premature ageing of cells, and can cause a wide range of illnesses and chronic diseases. Antioxidante concentration is higher in dark chocolate that in milk chocolate, being the first more associated with this benefit.
Cocoa is a heart ally. The regular ingestion of cocoa has been associated with a decrease of cardiovascular disease risk. It helps to keep the blood pressure low and decrease the bad cholesterol. Flavenoids, specifically epicatechin, which also have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.
Cocoa is a natural stimulant, it contains theobromine and caffeine, that are central nervous system stimulants and also diuretics and smooth muscle relaxants.
Cocoa has anti-stress and anti-depressive proprieties. Is contains valeric acid which acts as a stress reducer despite the presence of the stimulants caffeine and theobromine in the chocolate. Cocoa also promotes serotonin production which is a calming neurotransmitter, it is sometimes called the happy chemical, because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness.
The higher the percentage of cocoa in chocolate more is the benefit tacked out of its consumption, being therefore all these benefits associated with dark chocolate.
Is recommended a daily intake of 30 to 40g of dark chocolate. The daily should not exceed 40g, overconsumption of chocolate is not associated with the described benefits described. Consumption of chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa, due to its more intense flavour, makes you feel no need or desire to eat a whole chocolate tablet or box of chocolates.