Brain Cup: The Power of Cocoa

Although we consider it a confection, did you know Cocoa is a superfood and actually used by some as medicine? I don’t mean white chocolate as there is ZERO cocoa in there. And I don’t mean after it’s been blended with milk solids and sugar (aka, Milk Chocolate).

real-cocoa

Take a look at the ingredients in your favorite chocolate bar, is Cocoa at the top of the list? If so, congratulations! This means, you are reaping the benefits of bitter chocolate with its antioxidant phytonutrients called flavonoids. Pure cocoa is rich in magnesium as well which may be responsible for its ability to reduce blood pressure by relaxing the arteries.

Ironically, candy company Mars, Inc., plans to seek a health claim for chocolate from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the next few years based on research they sponsored regarding the potential role of cocoa flavonoids in lowering blood pressure. Mars, Inc. is also sponsoring research to see if cocoa flavonoids can help reduce dementia and Alzheimer’s.

There is so much scientific research for this superfood that WebMD cites the following benefits:

Possibly Effective For…

  • High blood pressure. Several studies show that eating 46-105 grams per day of dark or milk chocolate lowers the top number in a blood pressure reading (systolic blood pressure) by 4.7 mmHg and the lower number (diastolic blood pressure) by 2.8 mmHg in people with normal blood pressure or high blood pressure.

More Evidence Needed…

  • Heart disease. Some research suggests that healthy elderly men who eat a large amount of cocoa from dietary sources have a lower average blood pressure compared to those who eat less. The chocolate eaters also have a lower risk of death from heart disease and all causes.
  • Improving memory. Some research suggests that cocoa drinks enriched with high concentrations of flavonoids might help reduce the memory loss that occurs with aging.
  • High blood pressure in which only the first number (systolic pressure) is too high (isolated systolic hypertension). Preliminary evidence suggests that eating 100 grams per day of dark chocolate that is rich in cocoa flavonoids might slightly reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in elderly people with isolated systolic hypertension.
  • High cholesterol (cocoa butter)
  • Intestinal disease
  • Diarrhea
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Lung congestion
  • Liver
  • Bladder and kidney ailments
  • Diabetes
  • Preventing wrinkles
  • Preventing stretch marks during pregnancy

Make sure you’re eating the right kind of dark chocolate; organic cocoa powder, raw nibs or beans, or chocolate bars with at least 70% pure cocoa, making cocoa is the first ingredient. If sugar, milk, cream or some chemical is the first ingredient… fuhgeddabodit!

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