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What is cocoa?

What is cocoa?

Cocoa is a tree from America that produces a fruit of the same name that can be used as an ingredient in foods, among which chocolate stands out. Its use dates back to the times of the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas, and since then it has been used for both nutritional and medical purposes.  Cocoa has a high level of fat, carbohydrates and proteins, but it also contains magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, theobromine, caffeine, antioxidants, water, among others.  Cocoa also stands out for having a high energy intake, which is why it is usually indicated for those who carry out sports activities or physical exercise intensively.

In recent years, numerous studies have been carried out that have demonstrated the healthy properties that cocoa has, especially in terms of the cardiovascular system.  Flavonoids, which are generally found in vegetables, are also present in cocoa and are antioxidants that help prevent some heart diseases. These antioxidants also have benefits on cells, helping to protect them from attacks by free radicals to help slow the aging process.  Flavonoids also provide benefits to the brain system, improving memory and other cognitive processes. The study Enhancing dentate gyrus function with dietary flavanols improves cognition in older adults published by the journal Nature Neoscience offered a group of middle-aged men chocolate enriched with flavonoids for three months to test its effects. The results showed that the trial participants’ ability to remember had improved significantly.  Cocoa and chocolate can also help the production of endorphins, which can produce a better mood that allows you to combat physical or mental stress. Other elements such as tryptophan or phenylethylamine can also contribute to a more positive mood.

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