Just a quick visit to its history,
There’s a long line of accounts throughout the cultures like Mesoamerica and South American Indians that Cocoa is celebrated definitely a gift from the gods themselves. They were not kidding about how exceptional this fruit is, as only nobilities, high priests, generals, and high-ranking officials were permitted to have this pseudo divine food. The only exception? It is when you’re about to be sacrificed to the gods themselves .
When the New World started to shape, explorers from Spain and Portugal, or the Conquistadors considered Cacao as a good trade, as it was widely known as the favorite treat for the elites and the wealthy classes. Cocoa got so much attention, that by the end of the 20th century more than 100 health benefits were attributed to it. So before you take your next chocolate, let’s talk about some of those benefits. Not just a taste of heaven, it’s the food of the gods
Don’t worry, we will just try to indulge you with 10 of them.
- A kick of happiness. Of course, we have to start here. Especially that maybe over the years of enjoying a cup of hot choco or whatever form you have in your fridge, you just thought it makes you happy because it tastes good. While that may be right, I’m here to tell you, that it’s more than that. Theobroma cocoa contains a healthy amount of anandamides, a substance that’s better known as “bliss molecule”. It’s mainly a chemical that binds cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body, stimulating a sense of happiness, peace, and mental wellness. On top of that, it also enhances your serotonin level helping you fight mood swings. So maybe this kind of chocolate is all you need to get you going on a bad day and combat depression.
- Energy boost. Speaking of bad days, even the kind that comes from hell. I’m talking about the type of day that even if you had a good night’s rest or a great breakfast you just don’t have it. Fatigue just got you cornered. Well, the good news is cocoa has a strong amount of magnesium enough to make you stand up and fight low-energy days.
- Fights migraine. Other than it helps you be in that feel-good zone and keeps you going when the going gets tough, cocoa’s hearty amount of magnesium helps battle migraine or better yet even avoid it. Recent researches have shown that a noticeable number of people suffering from migraine is due to magnesium deficiency.
- Combats Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Now, ladies if you’re reading this I hope you’re smiling. The good news is experts found out, that a healthy amount of magnesium, something that cocoa is overflowing with can help reduce water retention, abdominal cramps, and tiredness. And gentlemen, if you happen to read this, you can smile too, it also helps the ladies improve their mood.
- Dental health. Do you know what’s even better than the fruit that makes you feel better? It is that the fruit makes your smile better. Cocoa has theobromine, also known as xantheose, the bitter alkaloid part of this plant. Some experts even claim that this compound even works better than fluoride at fighting cavities and preventing tooth decay. The antibacterial agents it has, fights against plaque, while improving tooth enamel, and effectively reducing the chances of tooth decay.
- Skincare. Since we already talked about cacao making you smile better, let me pamper you more with the knowledge that it also improves your skin. Cocoa contains flavonoids that help increase blood flow to the skin surface, which then helps in cell regeneration, which leads to glowing skin. Along with getting that undeniable glow, this fruit also has the same polyphenol antioxidants as green tea. This helps you keep that youthful-looking skin and avoid premature skin aging.
- Weight loss. The irony of ironies. You can keep eating chocolates, and still lose weight, so long as it’s raw cacao. You can talk to your fitness coach about this, but I bet they’ll also tell you that a good diet includes healthy fats that will trigger chemical reactions responsible for immunity, growth, and healthy metabolism. Along with those important nutrients that you get, raw cacao also has those mayo inhibitors that effectively lessens appetite.
- Better digestion. Raw cocoa is rich in fiber and magnesium that helps maintain good digestion and avoid constipation. Its combination of right fiber and healthy fat can drastically improve your digestive system, specifically by feeding the living flora inside your intestine. This is important, especially considering that healthy digestion significantly affects our immune function and hormone levels.
- Brain function. Yes, it tastes good that it makes any meal better. On top of that, it makes you feel better. It even helps you look better. But maybe even better than all that, is it makes your brain function better. This fruit contains flavonoids, that help increase the blood flow to the brain specifically at the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain in charge of memory and learning. These flavonoids then work to form new neurons while protecting them from free radicals. Overall this helps improve your cognitive functions.
- Cardiovascular health. Lastly, raw cacao effectively helps lower blood pressure, at the same time it fights against bad cholesterol and boosts good cholesterol. The robust amount of anti-oxidants that cacao has, which is actually 40 times more powerful than blueberries, and 119 times more powerful than bananas, protects lipoproteins from reacting to free radicals that might cause heart disease. Cacao has a healthy amount of heart-preserving anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory that keeps you away from stroke and helps regulate blood circulation.
It’s important to not confuse raw cacao with cocoa powder. Raw cocoa carefully goes through a process of fermentation, drying, roasting, crushing, and grinding. The process is done without overheating to help conserve its minerals. In contrast, most cocoa powders are processed products made of vanilla, sugar, cocoa butter, milk, and some other ingredients. Not just a taste of heaven, it’s the food of the gods
The next time you list your grocery you might want to include raw cocoa in it. Life’s pains and realities especially in this time of pandemic can be damning, but if you can drink or eat something that makes it just a bit better, then it is best to have it. Most especially when it helps you be a bit happier and overall healthier. That’s just additional bits of reason to take a sip or a bite of the “food of the gods”. Not just a taste of heaven, it’s the food of the gods