A Teaspoon of Raw Cocoa can Cut the Risk of Cancer, Diabetes & Heart Disease

Raw cocoa is one of the most amazing superfoods you could ever eat, and no wonder why it appears in so many recommended superfood lists that you find in nutrition books and in the Internet.

Raw cocoa is very rich in antioxidants which can reduce the incidence of several serious illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes. Cocoa adds a great taste to smoothies and also makes them effective in fighting these serious health conditions.

Cocoa with Water and Honey

Cocoa beans are native to South America and were used to make bitter drink by the Maya and Aztecs. The beans were also used for medical purposes and as offering in spiritual ceremonies. In the mid 1500s, cocoa beans were introduced to Europe by the Spaniards and they soon became a delicacy.

During the 17th century chocolate houses were established across Europe. Traditionally, cocoa was used in beverages, often mixed with spices such as vanilla and cinnamon, and sometimes with a sweetener such as honey. Later milk was included, and the start of modern chocolate drinks and confectionery began.

Cocoa and cacao – what is the difference?

The explanation to the difference between “cacao” and “cocoa” in not conclusive. Some sources claim that the word cacao comes from the Olmec people from what is now Mexico, and is believed to be the closest pronunciation to the original name of the plant.

It is actually widely believed that the word cocoa has its origins in a spelling mistake which was never corrected, and perhaps found easier to pronounce, and quite successfully overtook the correct form. In other words cocoa is the Anglicized version of the word “cacao”.

Other sources claim that cacao is the bean that comes from the cacao tree, whereas cocoa is what the bean is called after it has been processed. To make things clear I’m using the first meaning, and when I mention later in the recipes row cocoa powder, I mean that the powder has not been mixed with a sweetener and other additives, but only contains ground cocoa beans.

The Amazing Health Benefits of Raw Cocoa

Research has confirmed the benefits of cocoa beans. Raw cocoa beans are very rich in antioxidants (flavonoids), much more than berries, red wine, green tea and any other fruit, vegetable or nut.

• Their powerful antioxidants can reduce the incidence of several serious illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.
• They also have protective effect on the cardiovascular system and reduce blood pressure.
• Their flavonoids can improve insulin sensitivity, so may help prevent type-2 diabetes.

Cocoa beans also contain high levels of neurotransmitters that cause us to feel good, such as serotonin and dopamine.

They are also seem to increase verbal and visual memory, and also act as a mild stimulant.

Cocoa is very rich in fiber (around 33%) and protein (about 20%) and is rich in all the amino acids.

Cocoa beans are the number one source of magnesium (the most missing mineral in our diet), and they are rich in many other minerals like iron, calcium, copper, zinc, potassium and chromium.

Raw cocoa also reduces inflammation, blood clotting, helps blood flow, increases the good cholesterol (HDL) and decreases the bad cholesterol (LDL).

The center of the bean contains about 54% cocoa butter which contains some vitamin E and is rick in vitamin K.

A large percent of cocoa butter is oleic acid, the heart-healthy fat found in olive oil.
The beans are also rich in cholesterol-lowering phytosterols.

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