COCOA: A multifaceted Benison

All over the world cocoa is known as the plant which is the source of the dark brown powder used in making vegan chocolate bars but beside its use in making chocolate bars many are unaware about the amazing health benefits it offers. The minute we here cocoa, the first thing that comes to our mind is a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows on top. But back in the day when it was newly found and harvested it was used as a remedy and for therapeutic purposes.

The cocoa powder/cocoa bars (chocolate bars) available in the market are just one of the basic ingredients for numerous lip smacking and extravagant recipes be it scrumptious cakes and pastries or a chocolate fondue. We all must have tried are our hand at baking using a cocoa bar or cocoa powder. But we are unaware about the various healing properties it has to offer. During the lock down most of us had turned into amateur bakers and must have made mouth watering creations using cocoa powder.

Cocoa has its origin in Latin America where it was initially used as a medicine and in savory delicacies. The bitterness the cacao powder has to offer is advantageous and can cure many ailments.

Many of us are confused between cocoa and cacao, they are more or less the same but have a slight distinction. Cacao is the Spanish word and has its origin in Mexico where cacao was first grown and it is from cacao seeds that you get cocoa powder which is used to make chocolate. The word cocoa is the English term for cacao.

Cocoa powder is considered to be a very good product for skin, its used in skin waxes and also many luxurious cosmetic brands use it as a component in making face bronzers and contour powders.

Initially cocoa powder was used in hot drinks along with chilies and many other savoury dishes from central America specially in Mexico and Ecaudor ,due to its body healing properties it is considered to be a good ingredient to have in hot drinks during the icy-cold winters as it warms your body and also aids in blood circulation.

Cocoa powder is rich in polyphenols which lowers cholesterol and also helps in reducing blood sugar and blood pressure, it’s considered to be a super food for the heart and is healthy because its dairy free.

It is also in rich in flavanols which improves blood circulation which helps in de-clogging blood vessels and also aids in lowering blood pressure due to the nitric oxide present in flavanols. And also it helps in neuron functioning and can keep many mental health disorders at bay like Parkinson’s disease.

As we all know dark chocolate which is dairy free and vegan can strengthen the heart and the blood flow as well and it’s a great brain booster as well, cocoa powder aids in concentration, many experts recommend consumption of a limited amount of dark chocolate especially during exam season as it helps in improving concentration which is necessary in such trivial times.

The graph below shows the consumption of chocolate, Switzerland is at the top while Belgium which is said to have some of the finest quality chocolate is nowhere in the graph. When it comes to India Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are the top cocoa producers but when it comes to consumption India is quite behind, the consumption in India is only 0.17Kgs.

Whenever we eat a chocolate it definitely gives one a great amount of pleasure and satisfaction, chocolate (cocoa powder) has been used as a mood enhancer and can boost one’s happiness levels and is also recommended for people with depression .Whenever you feel low pop a few pieces of chocolate in your mouth, it will help you regain mood stability and will also make you feel happier.

Apparently for all the people who suffer from high blood sugar levels, sugar free cocoa powder/cocoa bars are a boon because it controls one’s sugar levels, stabilizes insulin secretion and also is considered beneficial for digestion. Vegan cocoa powder/chocolate bars are recommended for lactose intolerant people as it aids in digestion.

For all the health conscious people and fitness freaks who keep themselves away from chocolate as they worry it might add a few kilograms to their weighing machine, you can actually consume a healthy amount of chocolate in your daily diet as it controls weight gain by reducing inflammation and also burns fat. It actually stabilizes disturbed appetite.

Chocolate is truly one of the ways to a healthy heart, it clears our manic mood and gives us pleasure but at the same time has numerous benefits to offer.

Abdhi Upadhyay

Categories: Health, News

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