Cocoa is the fruit where chocolate originates. Pure cocoa or which has been processed into dark chocolate has many health benefits, ranging from improving mood, lowering high blood pressure, and even reducing the risk of heart disease.
The seeds in cocoa are the main ingredients for chocolate. Unsweetened dark chocolate comes from cocoa beans which basically taste bitter. Dark chocolate is made by baking cocoa beans, then grinding it until smooth. Cacao powder is produced by squeezing cocoa butter from dark chocolate. To be a sweet pack of chocolate, cocoa is added to sugar, vanilla, cocoa butter, and milk.
In cocoa powder, there are a variety of nutrients that are good for health. Nutrients contained in cocoa include protein, carbohydrates, fiber, polyphenols, flavonoids, calcium, iron, caffeine, magnesium, and potassium.
Health Benefits of Cocoa
The benefits of cocoa only apply to pure cocoa or dark chocolate, not chocolate with a sweet taste that has been added to taste and other ingredients. The more bitter and black a chocolate is, the better. A series of claims for the benefits of cocoa for health include:
Reducing blood pressure
Reducing the risk of heart disease
Slows senility and maintains brain function
Improve mood (mood)
Has anticancer properties
Helps control asthma symptoms
Slows aging of the skin
Research reveals that consumption of dark chocolate for 2-18 weeks in a row can reduce blood pressure. This effect is thought to be related to nitric oxide (NO) which can help dilate blood vessels. The benefits of cocoa which can reduce blood pressure are beneficial for people with high blood pressure.
Eating chocolate can improve endothelial function, which is the cells lining the inner surface of blood vessels. In addition, cocoa is rich in antioxidants flavanols and NO substances which can dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow. This effect is good for preventing heart disease.
Eating a little chocolate is thought to make us more energized. This is thanks to the high calorie content, as well as caffeine and magnesium in cocoa.
Aka senile dementia generally occurs in older people. A study suggests, flavanol contained in cocoa can slow down the process of memory loss in the elderly. This effect is thought to be influenced by the benefits of cocoa which can expedite blood flow to the brain, and the powerful antioxidant effect that can reduce the impact of brain cell damage.
Theobromine, caffeine, and endorphins contained in cocoa affect moods to be more positive and increase alertness. Active substances in cocoa can also increase endorphins, which are chemical compounds in the brain that play a role against stress and moodiness. Endorphins are also believed to increase sexual desire.
Cocoa contains high antioxidants and is also anti-inflammatory. This effect is seen to prevent the growth of cancer cells in the body and counteract the effects of cell damage, so the risk of getting cancer can be reduced.
Natural cocoa powder has the potential to reduce the tendency to relapse in people with asthma. Theobromine and theophylline contained in cocoa have benefits as widening of the airways, so they can help reduce asthma symptoms.
Cocoa has good nutrition for the skin, as well as chemicals that are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, also helps to expedite blood flow to the skin. This effect is thought to play a role in helping slow down skin tissue damage due to sun exposure, and helps slow aging of the skin.
The various medical studies above indeed show that cocoa has many potential health benefits, but further studies and evidence are still needed to strengthen these claims.