The Food of the Gods: The Many Benefits of Chocolate
Chocolate is one of the most craved, loved and eaten foods in the world. Its’ rich and decant flavor, combined with its ability to excite your sensual senses, provides some rather impressive health benefits.
Throughout its history, chocolate, also referred to as "the food of the Gods", has remained a symbol of luxury and power, in fact, during the 14th century, the Aztecs and Mayans even used cacao beans as currency.
Our love affair with chocolate has strong rooted historical implications, dating back to 1900 B.C. It is said that the Mayans and Aztecs valued cacao for its mood enhancing and aphrodisiac properties, and in the 17th century cocoa and chocolate were considered potential medicine.
Health Promoting Benefits:
Cocoa contains about 380 known chemicals, 10 of which are active compounds that have been linked to a variety of health benefits. Cocoa has a higher antioxidant capacity than green tea, black tea or red wine.
The nearly 400 polyphenols, or plant compounds, from cocoa have particular health benefits, which can positively affect oxidative stress, cardiovascular and inflammatory disease, metabolic disorders and cancer prevention.
Cocoa is high in resveratrol, a potent antioxidant known for its neuro-protective effects. The resveratrol in cocoa can cross the blood brain barrier, which allows it to deal with inflammation in the Central Nervous System.
The Proof is In the Science:
“Cocoa polyphenols may have specific benefits for cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, metabolic disorders, and cancer prevention.”
Many studies have found that cacao can benefit your heart, blood vessels, brain, nervous system, and even help to combat diabetes and other conditions that have been linked to inflammation.
- One 2012 meta-analysis found that eating chocolate could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 37 percent and your stroke risk by 29 percent.
- Another meta-analysis published that same year found that cocoa/chocolate lowered insulin resistance, reduced blood pressure, increased blood vessel elasticity, and slightly reduced LDL.
- One study found that patients who were consuming 100 grams of flavanol-rich dark chocolate for 15 days showed decreased insulin resistance.
- A 2013 paper in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine considered cacoa a complete food as it contains healthy fat, antioxidants, minerals such as potassium, phosphorus and magnesium and valeric acid, which acts as a stress reducer.
Whole Body Health Benefits:
-Anti-thrombotic; improving endothelial function
-Improved liver function
-Improved skin health
-Improved GI flora
-Reduce stress hormones
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