What is Cocoa?
Cocoa is a derivative of Theobroma cacao, also known as the cocoa tree, which originated in South America. The dehydrated seeds of this tree are known as cocoa beans. These little seeds have been admired for their remarkable health benefits, especially when consumed in their most natural form.
Scientific research has highlighted the advantages of cocoa, and the significant improvements they impart to our health. Enhanced brain functions, management of blood pressure, and insulin resistance are just some cocoa benefits. (1)
How does Cocoa Improve Cognitive Function?
The ability of cocoa to improve brain health is quite noteworthy. Flavanols, which are found in cocoa products, have been vastly praised for their effectiveness in overturning age-related deteriorations. This impacts memory, the retention of new ideas, concentration, and other neurocognitive functions.
The consumption of cocoa has been shown to have a hand in repairing and restoring neuronal loss and improving connections between neurons.
Reviews have also indicated an observation of increased blood flow, nerve function, and other improved brain activity after the consumption of cocoa.
According to a study conducted, 17 of the 60 volunteers with an average age of 73 who suffered from impaired neurovascular coupling (NVC), saw a 30% increase in their cognitive tests. This occurred after the consumption of cocoa for 30 days. (2)
What is Cocoa’s Impact on Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure refers to the force with which blood circulates or presses against your arteries. When blood pressure is too high, it increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Research shows that cocoa decreases blood pressure in the short-term. Consuming cocoa, in addition to using other treatments, is considered beneficial for your heart health. (3)
How is Insulin Resistance Affected by Cocoa?
Insulin resistance is the principal cause of Type 2 Diabetes. This health issue occurs when the body responds inadequately to the insulin it produces, causing your sugar levels to rise. It has been proven that by consuming cocoa, insulin sensitivity can be improved , thus reducing age-related cognitive dysfunction.
Based on findings, insulin resistance partakes in cognitive dysfunction. In The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 90 volunteers were asked to consume cocoa flavanols with varying levels of low, intermediate, and high amounts for eight weeks.
Cocoa benefits were measured, indicating improved insulin sensitivity, and enhanced memory. The changes in insulin were elected as the leading reason for cognitive improvements. (4)
Cocoa is a rich source of antioxidants and polyphenols, and it can have many positive impacts on your health. These include lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, and boosting your cognitive performance and mental health.
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(4)Cocoa flavanol consumption improves cognitive function, blood pressure control, and metabolic profile in elderly subjects: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) Study—a randomized controlled trial | The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Oxford Academic (oup.com)