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Is cocoa powder healthy?

  1. There have been many reports and studies about dark chocolate in recent years that indicate a number of positive effects on our health. But what about cocoa powder? Well, it looks like this may provide us with the same health benefits.

  1. Especially its unsweetened, non-alkalized form would be good for our heart health. You can find this cocoa powder at some supermarkets as well as health and natural food stores.

  1. In this article, discover the science behind the health benefits of cocoa powder.

  1. The reason you better use unsweetened cocoa powder is that you avoid excessive sugar / glucose peaks in your blood this way. You can sweeten your cocoa yourself with, for example, stevia. Or you can mix in a little almond milk. With some cinnamon, cloves or chili powder you can make a nice drink!

  1. According to a study conducted in 2012 by researchers at the University of East Anglia, cocoa is said to have a surprisingly positive effect on our insulin levels. The health benefits of the polyphenols found in cocoa have also received more and more attention in the media. Indeed, several studies point to the beneficial impact these would have on the health of our heart, skin and even our brain.

  1. Scientists found that the consumption of cocoa and the substances it contains has remarkable positive effects on our blood pressure and blood circulation. This is evident from a meta-analysis of 42 different studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published results showing that regular cocoa consumption improved blood flow by more than 1%, while the immediate effect after consumption even produced an improvement of 3.4%.

  1. The improvement refers to the expansion of the blood vessels (FMD) determined by the blood flow and is an indication of the health of the blood vessels.

  1. The new meta-analysis further showed that cocoa consumption helps to reduce diastolic blood pressure by an average of 1.60 mmHg and the mean blood pressure in the veins by 1.64 mmHg. The researchers noted that: “Chocolate or cocoa improves FMD, whatever dose is consumed.”

  1. "However, larger amounts also have greater effects on systolic and diastolic blood pressure.â €

  1. The phytonutrients that give cocoa powder its high antioxidant values ​​are a group of substances called polyphenols and more specifically flavonoids. Cocoa contains more of it than any other food.

  1. Two in particular, catechin and epicatchin are found in very high doses and there is a lot of research confirming their positive impact on our health. Interestingly enough, these flavonoids appear to be even absorbed intact into our bloodstream and are therefore almost as effective as drugs.

  1. Many people are deficient in the minerals copper and magnesium, both of which are found in cocoa. Cocoa contains 0.8mg of copper per 100g and is therefore a good source of this mineral. Our bodies require copper for many functions including oxygen supply to red blood cells and to aid in cellular energy production.

  1. Cocoa also has the highest magnesium content of all known foods, around 131 mg per 100 g of cocoa. This mineral is necessary for the proper functioning of more than 300 enzymes in our body and also plays a role in our cardiovascular health.

  1. Cocoa has a reputation for making people euphoric and happy. There are many different chemicals in cocoa that can cause euphoria, including phenyethlamine (PEA), serotonin, tyramine and anandamide. PEA helps the body produce its own opium-like substances: endorphins.

  1. In addition, this substance stimulates the production of dopamines, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in how energized and motivated we feel. Another substance found in cocoa that positively affects our state of mind. is anandamide.

  1. This substance binds in the brain to the same receptor as THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. No wonder cocoa has a reputation as an antidepressant, aphrodisiac and sedative!

  1. As you can see, cocoa has many positive effects on health. While some of the effects have not yet been conclusively proven and require further investigation, it is likely to be of absolutely no harm and even interesting benefits of incorporating a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder into a drink or consuming a piece of dark chocolate every day.

  1. What are your recipes with cocoa powder or chocolate? Do you notice any health benefits? Let me know!

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