What are the benefits of cocoa? A health treasure for body and skin
Cocoa, that precious jewel that often evokes gustatory pleasure, in fact contains a multitude of health benefits. Native to South America, the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) has been revered for thousands of years for its medicinal and energizing properties. Today, cocoa is recognized for its virtues not only as a food, but also as a precious ingredient for the skin.
Dark chocolate has always been much more than just a delicacy. Its benefits for the body have been the subject of numerous scientific studies, highlighting its beneficial properties for body and mind. Let’s delve into the fascinating world of dark chocolate, with some hard facts about its virtues.
Its different virtues:
Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, powerful antioxidants. It contains up to 3 to 4 times more flavonoids than cocoa powder, hot cocoa or milk chocolate. These molecules help neutralize free radicals in the body, reducing the risk of cell damage and age-related diseases.
(source : Lee KW, Kim YJ, Lee HJ, Lee CY. Cocoa has more phenolic phytochemicals and a higher antioxidant capacity than teas and red wine. J Agric Food Chem. 2003)
Studies have shown that moderate consumption of dark chocolate can stimulate the production of serotonin in the brain, acting as a natural antidepressant. A bar of dark chocolate can therefore make a real contribution to improving mood and reducing stress.
(source : Nehlig A. The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013)
Effects on cardiovascular health:
The figures speak for themselves: a meta-analysis of several studies revealed that dark chocolate consumption was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease. On average, regular consumption is associated with a 37% lower risk of heart attack and a 29% lower risk of stroke.
Dark chocolate’s flavonoids can also help lower blood pressure. Studies have shown an average reduction in systolic pressure of 5 mmHg and diastolic pressure of 3 mmHg in regular consumers, reducing the risk of hypertension.
(source : Hooper L, Kay C, Abdelhamid A, et al. Effects of chocolate, cocoa, and flavan-3-ols on cardiovascular health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012)
Cognition and memory:
Regular consumption of dark chocolate is associated with improved cognitive function and memory. Studies have shown an increase in cerebral blood flow, which may promote better cognitive performance.
Figures and scientific studies converge: dark chocolate, with its high cocoa content, offers an impressive range of health benefits. However, moderation remains the key. A reasonable consumption, around 20 to 30 grams a day, allows you to enjoy the full benefits without excess.
(source : Francis ST, Head K, Morris PG, Macdonald IA. The effect of flavanol-rich cocoa on the fMRI response to a cognitive task in healthy young people. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2006)
The benefits of raw cocoa for the body
Cocoa raw, unprocessed and unheated cocoa retains a large number of nutrients that are beneficial to the body. It’s packed with antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavonoids and catechins, which fight the free radicals responsible for cellular aging and various diseases.
Rich in essential nutrients: Cocoa is a natural source of iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. These minerals contribute to the proper functioning of the nervous system, the formation of red blood cells and the protection of cells against oxidative stress.
Beneficial effect on the heart: Cocoa flavonoids can help reduce blood pressure, improve circulation and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Improved mood and well-being: Cocoa contains compounds such as theobromine, phenylethylamine and anandamide, which act as natural stimulants promoting the release of endorphins and serotonin, contributing to a feeling of happiness and well-being.
The benefits of cocoa for the skin
Beyond its internal health benefits, cocoa also offers incredible benefits for the skin when used in skincare products or masks:
Intense hydration: Cocoa butter’s moisturizing properties deeply nourish the skin, restoring elasticity and suppleness. Ideal for dry or dehydrated skin.
Antioxidants and anti-aging: Cocoa’s antioxidants help combat the free radicals responsible for premature skin aging, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkle
Soothing action: Cocoa has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, relieving skin irritation and redness.
Revitalization and radiance: Cocoa masks stimulate blood circulation, promoting a radiant, revitalized complexion.
Incorporate cocoa into your skincare routine
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