The story of cocoa is a widely unknown and misunderstood one. Before the current perception of chocolate in its bar form as a result of being shunned into the public conscious by brands and major supermarkets, the ingredient held an incredible importance to its native founders, and for good reason!
The cocoa bean was initially grown and nurtured in the Americas. It was widely consumed by Mayans and Aztecs in its raw, unsweetened form thousands of years ago. The tree from which the cocoa or ‘cacoa’ was produced was referred to as ‘theobroma cacoa’ in Latin, which translates to ‘food of the gods’. So as you can tell they were pretty enamoured with it, and there’s plenty of reasons why - take a look at the following amazing benefits:
It Improves Your Mood
Cocoa is full of cocoa flavanols, these are plant nutrients which harness a whole load of benefits including the ability to improve cognitive functions and alleviate feelings. Additionally, the presence of phenylethylamine, a neurochemical, also influences to this superb psychological lift.
It has been suggested by nutritionists and experts that cocoa plays an excellent role in brain health due to these flavanols. Consumption of cocoa has been directly correlated with an improvement of blood flow to the brain, which in turn assists many of its functions including promoting and enhancing memory and learning capacity.
Cocoa Contains Antioxidants
Cocoa also provides the body with antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body’s cells and membranes from molecules called ‘free radicals’ which, when not stabilised by antioxidants, could cause immense damage to cell structures throughout the body. Get to know the full definition of these substances in our post answering what are antioxidants? But in short, they’re incredibly good for you and benefit the body greatly.
It Helps Cholesterol and Heart Health
The presence of antioxidants called polyphenols in cocoa attaches this particular benefit to cocoa. It greatly assists in the lowering of LDL cholesterol, otherwise known as ‘bad cholesterol’, which is a major cause of coronary and cardiovascular diseases. Polyphenols works to thin the blood which directly helps the flow of blood pressure in the body, which also helps to lower the chances of blood clots or blocking up your arteries.
Remember, cocoa can provide the above benefits but only does so within moderation! Get to know some of our cocoa products with our Nakd Chocolovers Mixed Case, or if you fancy a bit of fancy indulgence then check out our Nakd Posh Bits.