Nobody would have ever imagined that cocoa would become so popular. The cocoa bean and tasty products derived from the cocoa bean such as chocolate and the cocoa beverage are gaining popularity all over the world. Cocoa is rich in antioxidants necessary for human health.
Following recent discoveries about natural properties, cocoa has become very popular worldwide, especially many people taking it as a natural supplement. Cocoa is rich in specific antioxidants particularly polyphenols and the polymers procyanidins. It is really auspicious news to the heart patients that cocoa and cocoa products such as chocolate may keep high blood pressure down and maintain heart healthy.
Cocoa, the Food of Gods
Cocoa is called as the “Food of Gods.” The word cocoa which is derived from the botanical name of cocoa plant “Theobroma cacao”, which literally means “food of the gods.” No wonder that chocolate has become the popular food and beverage of most of the modern people.
Health benefits of cocoa products
1) Cocoa prevents heart diseases
Research by Harvard School of Medicine reveals the positive effects of cocoa consumption. Professor Norman Hollenberg, who lead the research team and studied the members of the Kuna tribe who live on islands off the coast of Panama, said that the Kuna tribe people do not develop heart attacks and cancer by taking cocoa diet rich in flavonoids. Further studies state that cocoa diet trumps almost all the other plants and tea that contain flavonoids. The health benefits of cocoa in preventing heart disease, heart failure or other forms of cardiovascular disease are really great.
2) Improves blood flow
Cocoa enriched with antioxidants improves blood flow and keeps the heart healthy. Another study has found that a substance in cocoa helps the body process nitric oxide (NO), a compound critical for healthy blood flow and blood pressure. The antioxidants in cocoa prevent fat-like substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and clogging the arteries, avoiding blood clots. It should be sweet news to the chocolate eaters that eating dark chocolate may help lower blood pressure.
3) Reduces cholesterol
The antioxidants in cocoa can prevent the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol, related to the mechanism of protection in heart disease, and save a person from heart attack. A report in the July, 2005 issue of journal Hypertension links dark chocolate with its beneficial health effects in lowering cholesterol, stating that consumption of the bittersweet candy reduced blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
4) Lowers cancer risks
Studies show that two types of flavanols, called catechins and procyanidins, contained in cocoa reduce inflammation and angiogenesis, two processes closely linked to cancer development. This cancer benefit of cocoa as a dietary supplement is yet to be studied in detail. The activity of catechins and procyanidins, two important properties of cocoa, is likely related to their ability to inhibit proliferation of cancer cells, to remove toxins from the body and to reduce inflammation.
5) A natural diuretic
The natural property theobromine in cocoa acts as a natural diuretic and helps increasing the flow of urine, preventing problems in the urinary track. In this way, it can be useful in controlling accumulation of fluid in the body.
6) A natural refresher
Cocoa has been used for thousands of years as a stimulant to combat fatigue, refreshing both body and mind. Its ingredients containing caffeine and theobromine provide the body energy with a quick burst and give the tired body a physical boost.
Cocoa and cocoa products come as great boon to the modern world which is threatened with heart attacks and sudden strokes. A staple diet with flavonoid-rich cocoa powder and dark chocolate definitely has favorable effects on LDL (bad cholesterol) when compared with a diet of other flavonoid sources.