Reduces High Blood Pressure
There are a number of benefits in consuming cocoa extract powder as a part of your daily health routine. For example, cocoa extract, in both dark chocolate and powdered forms, can help reduce high blood pressure. This health benefit is largely due to the flavanols present in cocoa. Believe it or not, cocoa that contains between 30 to 1,218 mg of flavanols can help reduce blood pressure levels by at least two mmHg. Studies suggest that flavanols can help decrease blood pressure levels by helping to improve blood vessel function and also by increasing the blood’s nitric oxide levels. Nitric oxide helps dilate and relax the blood vessels and arteries, also helping to improve blood flow (x, x).
Additionally, the cocoa extract contains other properties that may assist in reducing one’s risk of having a stroke and/or a heart attack. Cocoa has also been found to help lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad kind”), as well as having blood thinning properties that are quite similar to the same benefits of taking aspirin. Not to mention that the previously mentioned flavanols also help to decrease inflammation, while improving sugar levels within the body (x, x).
Not only is cocoa extract good for the heart, it is also good for the brain. Flavanols are able to pass through the brain-blood barrier and perform an important function in the pathways of the biochemical production of essential molecules and neurons, which, in turn, play a vital role in the function of the brain. Flavanols also improve nitric oxide production within the brain. Nitric oxide helps to relax the muscles of the blood vessels in your body. This can help to improve the flow of blood to the brain. The flavanols in cocoa may even play a part in the prevention of brain degeneration related to age, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, more studies are necessary to confirm these possible benefits.
Cocoa also offers your body an abundance of polyphenols, which can provide the body with a large number of health benefits as well. These benefits include a reduction in inflammation in the body and improvement in cholesterol levels, as people who take the extract attest. Keep in mind, though, that the cocoa extraction process that turns it into other products (such as chocolate) can significantly decrease the levels of polyphenols
COCOA BENEFITS FOR SKIN: SKIN CARE OF THE GODS
Interestingly, the Latin name for cocoa is Theobroma cacao, which translates to “food of the gods.” The cocoa beans are fermented seeds of the cacao tree, which is native to the Amazon region and also grows in many different tropical climates.
In addition to it’s well-known role as part of the manufacture of chocolate, cocoa beans have many healing and medicinal properties which have been recognized as far back as the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations. Cocoa was so valuable it was used as a currency by the native tribes of Central and South America.
COCOA BENEFITS FOR SKIN: ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS SKIN LOVES
Much better for your skin than a sugar-packed chocolate bar, the powder derived from finely ground cocoa beans is what provides such value to your complexion. For one, cocoa is an incredibly strong antioxidant. One study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that cocoa has more phenolic phytochemicals and a higher antioxidant capacity than black tea and green tea!
COCOA IS AN ANTIOXIDANT POWERHOUSE
Why are antioxidants important for your skin? Because they limit the production of free radicals that can damage skin cells, helping to restore the healthy appearance of the skin and reducing the signs of aging. Antioxidants help to repair the damage done to your skin cells by free radicals from environmental toxins, car exhaust, ultraviolet light, household chemicals, and cigarette smoke. They boost blood flow and assist the growth of new cells, keeping skin looking young and radiant.
Cocoa is rich in antioxidant flavonoids, which are called flavanols. Studies have shown that flavanols help repair skin damaged by UV sunlight and environmental toxins. As reported in the Journal of Nutrition, many researchers have looked into the bioactive compounds of cocoa and their impact on skin health. There is also a growing body of evidence that validates the use of cocoa-derived phytochemicals as an effective approach for skin protection.
COCOA RESTORES A MORE YOUTHFUL APPEARANCE
One key reason to apply cocoa to the surface of the skin is to tackle UV damage done by the sun. How does this work? One of cocoa’s constituents is theobromine, known to act as a vasodilator that helps to increase the flow of blood to the skin’s surface. This increased blood flow helps to stop the skin from drying out; similar to the same way the skin reacts when it’s sunburned. The resulting blood flow tends to reverse the aging effects of UV rays by promoting healing and renewal, making the skin more radiant and giving it a more youthful appearance.
TURN BACK THE CLOCK WITH COCOA
Helping to mitigate wrinkles is only one benefit of cocoa. Topical application is also known to help reduce the appearance of scars, particularly the type of scars known as contracture scarring. And it isn’t simply the antioxidant effect of cocoa; the cacao plant contains vitamin C and magnesium, both of which help to keep skin healthy and protected.
Cocoa is packed full of minerals including calcium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Cocoa is also is rich in omega 6 fatty acids which are known to assist skin healing at the cellular level - one of the ways it helps heal scars. It also boosts blood flow and hydration of the skin, which aids in improving the skin’s radiance, critical to achieving a younger-looking complexion.
PUT ON A HAPPY FACE WITH A COCOA MASK
Many people are using a cocoa powder face mask to increase blood flow to the skin and deliver antioxidant power and numerous benefits toward skin health. The increased blood flow results in a healthier, more radiant complexion while helping to heal the damage caused by constant UV exposure.
Though many people derive benefits by ingesting cocoa powder, applying it topically using a face mask will bring faster and more impactful results. Using a cocoa powder face mask to increase blood flow will help to hydrate the skin and mitigate the cellular breakdown that typically comes with aging.
Another benefit of cocoa is that it contains a high volume of vitamin E, which is known to boost collagen production. Collagen is what keeps your skin firm and gives skin its elasticity. The aging process depletes collagen levels, and skin ends up losing elasticity, resulting in wrinkles. Vitamin E helps to stimulate the body’s natural collagen production, giving you smoother, younger-looking skin.
COCOA BENEFITS FOR SKIN: RENEW & INDULGE
The sooner you start taking advantage of the many benefits of cocoa powder, the sooner you’ll begin to see improvements in your skin. Those benefits include a more youthful, radiant appearance with fewer wrinkles. Here’s the best part: you won’t gain a single ounce of weight indulging in chocolate this way, you’ll simply be receiving and enjoying the incredible cocoa benefits for healthy skin.
Somewhat paradoxically, cocoa intake, even in the form of chocolate, may help you control your weight.It’s thought that cocoa may help by regulating the use of energy, reducing appetite and inflammation and increasing fat oxidation and feelings of fullness. Additionally, a weight loss study using low-carbohydrate diets found that a group given 42 grams or about 1.5 ounces of 81% cocoa chocolate per day lost weight faster than the regular diet group.However, other studies have found that chocolate consumption increases weight. Yet, many of them did not differentiate between the type of chocolate consumed — white and milk chocolate do not have the same benefits as dark.Overall, it appears that cocoa and cocoa-rich products may be helpful in achieving weight loss or maintaining weight, but further studies are needed.
Cocoa powder is said to improve fat metabolism and increase energy, and hence, can be consumed for quicker weight loss. If you wish to use cocoa powder to burn fat, then make sure you buy a good quality, organic brand, which has no sugar in it. You can add the cocoa powder in small amounts to your warm glass of milk or your bowl of oats in the morning. Adding cocoa powder to your breakfast smoothies may give it an extra kick of taste and nutrition. As mentioned earlier, adding cocoa powder to your protein shake, before working out may also help you burn fat faster. However, it's advisable to contact your nutritionist or a certified dietitian, in order to know exactly how much of cocoa powder should you be consuming every day.
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