Contrary to what many health experts say about chocolate, raw chocolate or pure cocoa has many outstanding benefits. For one, it is considered a super-fruit of the earth because it has medicinal properties that can help prevent many diseases.
Its benefits target the cardiovascular system, work on reducing the risk of heart attacks and stroke, maintain blood pressure and keep levels steady, and also reduce the risk of cancer. It can also help with changing cognitive abilities that decline with old age.
Pure Cocoa and Positive Moods
When you’re feeling down, do you turn to something sweet like chocolate? You’re not alone if you said yes. In fact, humans have been using cocoa for its medicinal properties since the 1500s in Central American civilizations such as the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs.
If you can stay away from processed high-sugar chocolate and enjoy pure cocoa at home – in the form of dark chocolate –it can actually work to enhance your mood. Pure cocoa is rich in agents that help us produce the chemicals that allow us to feel food like serotonin and dopamine.
Cocoa has the power to elevate our moods and help with depression and anxiety as a result. Did you know millions of people use cocoa to self-medicate? Because it contains Theobromine, a central nervous system stimulant, and a stronger cardiac stimulant caffeine, pure cocoa has an overall mood-modifying effect. This creates a cocktail of pleasure for our brain.
In addition, PEA (phenethylamine) stimulates the nervous system and triggers the release of endorphins that make us feel euphoric. This is a key component to why cocoa and chocolate in general can have addictive feel-good tendencies.
Pure Cocoa and Physical Health
If pure cocoa has such power of our emotional well-being, it surely has a direct impact on our physical well-being, given that they work together as a unit. Studies show that pure cocoa has amazing benefits on our heart since it contains over 700 known compounds, including antioxidants.
These antioxidants and polyphenols are what plants make to prevent their own cells from degrading, and similarly in the human body, they prevent reactive oxygen species (ROS) from destroying cells which usually leads to premature aging and disease.
So go ahead and make yourself some Paleo Brownies and know that you can indulge while putting good things into your body! Be sure to check out more of our gluten-free dessert recipes that include pure cocoa.