The health benefits of cacao are numerous. The high content of minerals and unique compounds enhances both your mental and physical health. But the secret behind all of these activities is the content of flavanols cocoa. This article reveals all you need to know about cocoa flavanols, including its facts, health benefits and different ways to use cocoa.
Interesting Facts about Cocoa Flavanols
What is Cocoa Flavanols?
Flavanols are plant-derived nutrients found in many foods such as tea, berries, grapes and more importantly, cacao. Traditional processing methods of the cacao beans that yield the present-day chocolate usually strips the bitter flavored flavanols from the cacao. But that’s all about to change as there were various proofs linking that dark and bitter flavor from the cacao beans contains antioxidants.
Antioxidants are a positively regarded compound that combats oxidation. Which in turn reduces the chemical reaction in our bodies that produces free radicals. Our bodies naturally produce these so-called free radicals as it breaks down food when exposed to smoke and radiation and plays a role in heart disease and other illnesses.
Where to Find a Rich Source of Cocoa Flavanols?
There are plenty of cacao-based products that contain these healthy cocoa flavanols such as supplements and cocoa powders. The amount of flavanols varies widely. Hence, it’s best to stick through products that are natural and have not been highly processed. Much like any food that we consume, moderation is key. If you are a chocolate fan, make sure to get dark chocolate. They are most likely to have the highest concentrations of flavanols in chocolate per ounce. Otherwise, cocoa powder is the richest source of cocoa flavanols.
8 Best Health Benefits of Cocoa Flavanols
Being such a magical part of the beans, flavanols becomes an essential source providing the human body with physical and mental health. Here are the top 8 best cocoa health benefits you get when taking cocoa flavanols on a daily basis.
1. Cocoa Flavanols Enhance Brain Function
There have been many studies about the effect polyphenols found in plant-based foods and their effect on the human body. It’s been proved to counteract cognitive decline and prevent the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Thanks to the antioxidant it possesses, cocoa contributes to the general cognition, attention and processing speed by improving the blood flow.
2. Cocoa Flavanols Maintain Heart Health
Flavanols and antioxidants play a huge role in the cacao’s health benefits. Therefore, cacao positively affects our cardiovascular system. Studies and evidence were showing a reduction in coronary events. For instance, myocardial infarction, ischaemic heart failure, unstable angina, and heart attacks. Most cardiologists now admit to its’ potential benefits. This flavanol-rich cocoa lowers blood pressure by improving the nitric oxide levels in our body, which in turn improves blood flow and makes blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.
3. Benefits of Cocoa Powder for Skin
It was a myth that eating chocolate may cause breakouts of acne. However, people have dismissed these myths due to lacking concrete evidence linking consuming chocolate contributes to causing acne. Studies show that long-term consumption of chocolate containing cocoa polyphenols promotes better blood circulation. Hence, it can better condition and surface of our skin.
4. Cocoa Flavanols Control Your Weight
Many have overlooked that highly processed chocolate contains certain additives such as sugar. That’s why eating chocolate has been regarded as fattening and associated with weight gain. On the contrary, if those additives are reduced or better yet removed from the manufactured chocolates, namely dark chocolates, they contribute to reducing appetite and inflammation.
5. Cocoa Flavanols Has Cancer-Protective Properties
Damage to the cells in our bodies can lead to cancer. A better way to counter these effects is by consuming antioxidants and flavanols-rich foods. With a majority of the population turning health conscious, chocolate has attracted a great deal of interest because of the immense amount of these naturally occurring micronutrients. These affect our bodies by countering the oxidation that happens in our bodies. However, supplementing it with moderate consumption of chocolate helps against inflammation, and ultimately helps in the spread of cancer cells.
6. Cocoa Flavanols Fight Asthma
Natural compounds found in coffee and cacao are beneficial to people with respiratory difficulties. These alkaloids which 1.9% present per 3.75 ounces are medications used in the treatment of asthma by relaxing the bronchial smooth muscle. These chemicals are what’s responsible for blocking adenosine receptors which in turn reduces coughing. Several studies have found that by inducing subjects to amounts of these compounds helps in dilating the lungs and a significant decrease in inflammation.
7. Cocoa Flavanols Improve Your Mood
Remember that giddy feeling every time you bite on that chocolate bar? The culprit is phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator that helps in regulating mood by increasing serotonin levels in our brain. Another factor why chocolates are considered as a “comfort food” for some is because of the high levels of antioxidants that work by combating anxiety and depression.
8. Cocoa Flavanols Helps People with Type-2 Diabetes
Patients with Type-2 Diabetes have usually parted ways of eating sweet foods. Fortunately, chocolate is here to save the day again. Following studies of patients consuming a moderate serving of high-quality cocoa, scientists can conclude that flavanols in dark chocolate improve insulin secretion and reduced inflammation. So, this, in turn, helps lower blood sugar levels and helps the body in using that insulin.
6 Different Ways to Use Cocoa Powder for the Richest Source of Cocoa Flavanols
Hot cocoa is the perfect way to survive the cold winter months. Some people indulge with toppings of marshmallow and whipped cream, while some people add butter on their drink for places with much colder weather conditions.
From the standard, run-of-the-mill chocolate bars to the more creamy and expensive truffles, cocoa are used in many of these delectable treats.
Who said that cocoa is just for oral consumption? People also use cocoa in certain aesthetic applications such as makeup. It may sound slightly eccentric, but it’s far more natural and cheaper than the brand you’re using.
Some cosmetic companies have also incorporated the use of cocoa powder in their skincare products. With its natural oxidation effects, it has been directly infused in face mask to give it that tantalizing glow. Making a face mask becomes one of the top emerging cacao powder uses because of such!
Calling just for some simple ingredients such as flour, baking powder, milk, a pinch of salt, and cocoa being the center of its call, one could easily make a chocolate cake to satisfy cravings in no time.
Healthy smoothies don’t have to be boring. You can spice it up with a sprinkle of cocoa powder for that extra rich chocolate flavor.
Cocoa benefits are unquestionable. The more often you use it, the better your life is! One of the best raw cacao powder brands is Alluvia Chocolatier. Alluvia is a leading locally-grown cacao producer in the hottest cacao producing country, Vietnam. This is where you can find high-flavanol cocoa products for home use and treatment, as well as plenty of bean-to-bar chocolate.
Alluvia is a bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer in Vietnam. The brand handcrafts chocolate products from cocoa beans of the alluvial Mekong Delta’s soil, capturing the taste of Vietnam in each bar of greatness. To purchase Alluvia’s products or book a tour to the Alluvia Cocoa Farm and Chocolate Factory, please contact Alluvia on Messenger.