Cocoa is a seed from a cocoa tree native to the Amazon region and was historically considered very important symbol in Central and South America culture. Cocoa beans were so appreciated that the native tribes used it as a form of coin. Its name means “food of the gods”.
The ancient people of Central America: Mayas and the Aztecs believed that this plant could convey immortality. Because of this belief cocoa consumption was generally reserved for royalty, warriors, and other high society people.
While the Spaniards were exploring the Americas in the sixteenth century, cacao was being introduced into Europe. Although initially consumed by the European elite, cocoa quickly spread throughout the world population. The best-known product of cocoa, chocolate, had its origins in Europe.
Cocoa is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese and copper. It is an excellent source of potassium, selenium and zinc, while providing the body with carbohydrates, proteins and dietary fiber. With lots of properties get to know about some of its benefits for your health:
- Mood improver and combat depression and anxiety by increasing the serotonin production (the good mood hormone)
- Prevent thrombosis due to the presence of flavonol
- Fight high cholesterol by being rich in antioxidants and prevent the formation of atheroma plaques;
- Prevent atherosclerosis by preventing the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessels;
- Prevent anemia being rich in iron;
- Reduce the risk of diabetes due to flavonoid antioxidants and help fight against insulin resistance;
- Prevent problems like dementia and stroke by improving blood circulation, cognition and memory;
- Reduces pressure because it improves the quality of blood vessels;
- Helps control inflammation, which can be observed by reducing the amount of C-reactive protein in the blood.
The Tree and its Fruit
The Cacao tree whose Latin name is Theobroma cacao, measures 12 to 25 feet high, growing naturally in tropical climates. The fruit is a sweet cellulose capsule that involves a group of about 40 cocoa beans.
Cocoa and chocolate are different things. Cocoa is the low-fat component of finely milled grains. These grains known as cocoa mass are also composed of cocoa butter, which is a non-dairy product, of natural origin.
Chocolate is a food made based on the fermented and roasted grain of cocoa, and milk and sugar are commonly added.
Cocoa powder comes from the cocoa bean, it is highly nutritious and can provide numerous health benefits. Two tablespoons of cocoa powder contain only 25 calories and 1.5 g of fat. It also provides 14% of the recommended daily value of fiber, 8% of the daily value of iron and 14% of the daily value of magnesium.
Tips and tricks
- Replace the chocolate in the preparation of vitamins, add cocoa powder to the banana vitamin and the sweetness of the fruit itself will suffice.
- Sprinkle cocoa powder on bitter chocolate truffles
- Prepare an oatmeal porridge with honey and cocoa powder
- Prepare a light cappuccino with skimmed milk powder, instant coffee and cocoa powder.
- Make banana cookies with oats and add cocoa powder in batter.
SOURCES: https://souagro.com.br/beneficios-do-cacau-para-a-saude/; https://www.tuasaude.com/cacau/