Amazing Chocolate Facts
Did you know that cocoa is actually a fruit? And would you have guessed that the cocoa bean counts among the most healthiest fruits one could possibly eat?
You may have believed that cocoa and chocolate were "bad for you". Well, some chocolate really is. The right kind of chocolate, however, is a true super-food as it offers many health benefits that sound almost too good to be true.
Food scientists at Cornell University discovered that cocoa powder contains almost the double amount of antioxidants as red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea. Raw cocoa contains the highest antioxidant value of all the natural foods in the world!
The ORAC score per 100 grams of unprocessed raw cacao is 28,000, compared to 18,500 for Acai Berries, 1,540 for Strawberries, and only 1,260 for raw Spinach. The ORAC score for a typical manufactured dark chocolate is an impressive 13,120. Milk chocolate however only scores 6,740 in addition to plenty of sugar and possibly hydrogenated or partly hydrogenated fats.
Recent research has pointed out healthy connections between the consumption of raw cocoa and cardiovascular health, particularly reduced risk of blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. The fact that raw cocoa contains good amounts of magnesium besides valuable antioxidants may be responsible for that.
Cocoa seems to further posses anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a good source of the minerals magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, and manganese; plus some of the B Vitamins.
Cocoa contains high amounts of the "beauty" mineral, sulfur. Sulfur is essential to build strong nails and hair, to promote healthy and beautiful skin, to assist in detoxifying the liver, as well as supporting healthy pancreatic function.
Fresh, raw cocoa beans posses extra-ordinarily high amounts of flavanols. Flavanols are strong antioxidants that support healthy blood flow and blood pressure. The heart-healthy flavanols in cocoa, especially the epicatechins, prevent fatty substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and then clogging the arteries. (We are still talking about raw unsweetened cocoa here!)
Flavanols help to prevent blood platelets to stick together which may otherwise result in blood clots that could trigger heart attacks, and strokes.
Cocoa contains the amino acid Tryptophan which manufactures the neurotransmitter serotonin. Seratonin promotes happy feelings. (No wonder so many people are calling it the "happy food".) Cocoa contains neurotransmitters which make chocolate a brain food too.
Phenylethylamine (PEA), a neurotransmitter helps promote mental alertness and the ability to concentrate. The PEA in healthy chocolate can be of help to students taking tests, and to senior citizens who want to retain the mental capacity of a younger person and postpone the onset of dementia.
So, go ahead. and enjoy a piece of truly healthy dark chocolate!
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