HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCOA

Dozens of academic studies have concluded that cocoa and dark chocolate-based foods can

i. decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease,
ii. improve insulin sensitivity and other diabetic symptoms,
iii. relieve inflammation,
iv. fight depression, increase energy,
v. improve breathing and
vi. even decrease your appetite

Increasing evidence shows that cocoa has great potential for a healthy heart and possible cancer-fighting benefits. Specifically, dark chocolate and minimally processed cocoa powders provide the most antioxidants and have been shown to lower blood pressure and risk for heart disease. Antioxidant-rich plant compounds called flavonols are a specific type of flavonoids found in dark chocolate. Flavonoids in cocoa act similar to taking a low-dose aspirin by making your blood platelets less likely to stick together and clot. Studies have shown that flavonols might also relax blood vessels.

Theoretically, this should reduce cardiovascular risk, meaning you are less likely to have a heart attack or stroke. The good news doesn’t stop there: cocoa has more flavonoids than many other foods including: red wine, black tea and green tea. According to a recent study by the Penn State University, drinking cocoa may also aid in weight loss. Their results, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, suggest that compounds in cocoa can inhibit the body’s ability to digest fats and carbohydrates. When these are not absorbed, they can’t lead to weight gain.

Precisely what about cocoa that gives it these weight loss properties remains hitherto unknown. However researchers speculate that there are specific compounds in the cocoa beans that interrupt the normal activity of enzymes that usually aid in the digestion of some carbohydrates and fats.

Not all cocoa is created equal, however. Some types are much more effective at blocking fat and carbohydrate absorption. The key seems to be compounds called polyphenols and flavanols and certainly where there has been the least processing or alkalisation as this can rid the cocoa of the positive attributes.

Researchers caution against confusing cocoa with chocolate. Cocoa is a non-fat extract of the cocoa bean that is used in the making of chocolate. Chocolate, on the other hand, also contains substances like cocoa butter and sugar that can negate any weight loss properties. Experts suggest that in order to harness the benefits of cocoa, you should look for a variety that is at least 60 percent pure and combine it with low-fat milk and only a small amount of sugar.

Gold Coast Natural Cocoa powder is however 100% pure Cocoa.