- Cocoa Beans
The cocoa bean, also cacao bean or simply cocoa or cacao , is the dried and fully fermented fatty seed of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids and cocoa butter can be extracted. They are the basis of chocolate, as well as many Mesoamerican foods such as mole and tejate.
- Health benefits of cocoa beans
1) Blood pressure: Flavonoid-rich cocoa aids in lowering blood pressure and improving the elasticity of blood vessels. Research studies conducted on this subject have shown positive changes in the systolic and diastolic blood pressure as a consequence of consuming cocoa-based products instead of black and green tea. These favorable changes are attributed to the presence of antioxidants in cocoa that stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which helps to keep blood vessels relaxed. Furthermore, this helps in maintaining a healthy circulatory system.
2) Antioxidant Capacity: A comparative research study has made it evident that cocoa exhibits higher antioxidant activity than against black tea, green tea and red wine. Antioxidants help to neutralize the oxygen-based free radicals that are present in the body. In addition to this, it is abundant in phenolic phytochemicals and possesses a high amount of flavonoids as well.
3) Brain Health: Scientists have suggested that flavonol-rich cocoa may extend its beneficial effects to maintaining a healthy brain. These neuroprotective benefits could also have favorable effects on learning and memory functions. The findings have advocated that the consumption of cocoa-based products enhances the flow of blood to the brain and they have provided evidence of the therapeutic potential for curing vascular disorders.
4) Blood Cholesterol: An investigativeresearch study has shown that cocoa has hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic effects on both glucose and cholesterol levels, respectively. A diet containing it has also shown a reduction in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and glucose level. It has also demonstrated a noteworthy rise in the levels of healthy HDL cholesterol in the test subjects.
5) Diabetes: Theconsumption of cocoa has been shown to be effective in improving insulin resistance and glucose metabolism. This, in turn, aids in regulating sugar levels in the body. Theproanthocyanidins derived from it help in inhibiting the cataract formation occasionally induced by diabetes. An investigative study has confirmed that it exerts protective antioxidant activity in the treatment of long term diabetic complications such as diabetic nephrotoxicity. Nephrotoxicity plays a key role in diabetes mellitus and it is the major cause of severe renal disease.
6) Bronchial Asthma: Cocoa beans contain xanthine andtheophylline, which aid in relaxing bronchial spasms and opening constricted bronchial tubes. This facilitates an easy flow of air and is valuable in curing various allergies, including asthma and shortness of breath. Its consumption therefore helps in providing relief from bronchial asthma.
7) Wound Healing: Cocoa extractshave been trusted for their therapeutic and wound-healing properties in the manufacturing of natural medicinal products. The extracts help in preventing the development of various kinds of infections in the body. Along with the appropriate medication, it has also been considered helpful in eradicating Helicobacter pylori bacteria from the body.
8) Obesity: Astudy has shown the potential benefits of cocoa in preventing high-fat diet-induced obesity. Its intake helps in modulating lipid metabolism and reducing the synthesis and transport of fatty acids. It has also demonstrated an improvement in thermogenesis, the mechanism of heat production in white adipose tissues and the liver.
9) Cardiovascular Health:Studies have shown that cocoa exerts beneficial effects on cardiovascular health as well. It is rich in flavonoids namely, procyanidin, catechin, and epicatechin, which have antioxidant properties and help in protecting the cells from damage while strengthening the heart. It also aids in improving endothelial function and stimulating the beneficial HDL cholesterol. It helps in preventing the formation of fatal blood clots, which can lead to stroke or cardiac failure. Blood platelets play an important role in cardiovascular disorders.
10) Constipation: Research studies have demonstrated that the consumption of cocoa husk exerts therapeutic effects in treating chronic constipation and bowel function diseases. As per the study done on pediatric patients, consumption of fiber-rich cocoa products resulted in faster colonic, rectal and intestinal transit times.
- Skin benefits of cocoa beans
1) Some proponents of cocoa butter claim that it can prevent or get rid of stretch marks, but a large-scale clinical study was undertaken in 2008 which demonstrated that this is unfortunately not the case (Osman et al., 2008).
2) Cocoa butter is also very high in antioxidants including Vitamin E, which provide fantastic anti-ageing properties that fight the activity of free radicals on your skin and help to keep your skin looking supple and young. The antioxidants provide an added bonus by preventing cocoa butter from going rancid quickly which means it has a lovely long shelf life (2-5 years) when stored in its basic form.
3) This rich plant butter is highly moisturising and hydrating because of this melting point which is why it is perfect for use in soaps, lip balms and body butters.
4) Caffeine and theobromine have similar properties and are brilliant in skincare. These compounds are able to break down fats and can have draining properties on fatty cells which allows them to be used for skin firming. Caffeine and theobromine are often used to tighten the skin and reduce puffiness. All of these skincare properties mean that cocoa solids can be used to target cellulite when applied to your skin.
5) Sensitive Skin: Cocoa butter is also useful in skin concerns like eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and other skin irritations.
6) Scars and Stretch Marks: Cocoa butter has the reputation of fading away scars and stretch marks.
7) Soft Lips: Cocoa butter softens and plumps the lips, getting rid of the dryness.
Hair benefits of cocoa beans
- Deeply moisturize your hair.
- Make them strong and healthy.
- Reduce hair loss.
- Repair dry and damaged hair.
- Hair becomes more manageable.
- Rejuvenate chemically processed hair.
- Prevent further hair damage.