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Cocoa boasts a rich history as a luxury beverage that was once consumed by aristocrats in Mesoamerica and Europe. In fact, the word “Theobroma” which comes from the species Theobroma cacao – from which cocoa is extracted – literally means “drink of the gods”.
But cocoa is more than just a luxury beverage. As research continues to uncover more facts about this product, it’s quickly becoming clear is that cocoa is one of the most potent superfoods on earth. The number of health benefits associated with it is simply mind-boggling.
Cocoa Fights Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
Almost 380 different chemicals with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects have been isolated from cocoa. These are what give cocoa its remarkable health benefits, especially when it comes to conditions like heart disease. Study after study has shown that cocoa decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, but also acts in other ways to boost our health. These include lowering blood pressure, increasing dilation of blood vessels, stopping blood clots, and fighting obesity. It also removes the risk of heart attacks and strokes by chemically promoting alertness and reducing stress, while also fighting diabetes by lowering insulin resistance.
Cancer and Dementia
Research has also unearthed cocoa’s cancer-fighting abilities. Studies have shown that polyphenols from the product inhibit the growth of cancer cells, prevent DNA damage responsible for the development of cancer, and even inactivate some types of carcinogenic chemicals.
As for dementia, cancer has been found to counteract this degenerative condition by increasing blood flow to the brain. Cocoa also acts by enhancing cognitive ability and preventing Alzheimer’s disease, leading researchers to believe that cocoa will eventually help treat dementia and stroke.
Cocoa Helps Our Immune System, Oral Health and Eyesight
Beyond prevention of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, the benefits of cocoa and cocoa polyphenols have been seen in the way it boosts our immune system. Cocoa helps us recover from exercise, reduces chronic fatigue and fights cataracts related to diabetes. It has also proven to be vital for preventing tooth decay, skin protection and improving our eyesight.
Another great benefit is cocoa is the improvement of digestion by encouraging the development of beneficial microorganisms in our gut.
The list of benefits you stand to gain from consuming chocolate are endless, and research continues to unearth even more advantages of the product by the day. There’s everything to gain and nothing to lose by including a normal amount of dark chocolate in your diet every day.