There have been many studies linking cocoa and dark chocolate with health benefits. Cocoa and chocolate contain a large amount of antioxidants (flavonoids). Cocoa and dark chocolate may support a healthy heart. The darker chocolate with the most concentrated cocoa will be the most beneficial. High quality cocoa powder must be easily dissolved and have good flavor. The beans used for the manufacture of cocoa are selected especially for this purpose.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a reliable source on nutritional guidance, suggests that modest consumption of dark chocolate or cocoa, as part of a balanced diet and regular physical activity, may be associated with helping to support healthy cardiovascular function.*
In recent years, scientific evidence has begun to indicate that the nutrients, phytonutrients and fatty acids found naturally in cocoa may be associated with heart health.* These effects have been attributed to flavonols, which are natural compounds that occur in a wide range of fruits and vegetables and have been studied in cocoa.
Cacao trees are delicate plants that live in the understory of tropical forests and require other, taller trees to shelter them from wind and sun. The cocoa “beans” that form the basis of chocolate are actually seeds from the fruit of the cacao tree.
Did You Know?
The difference between cacao and cocoa: Cacao is the bean. Cocoa is the product that is made from it. Theobroma cacao is the scientific Latin name given to the cacao trees that are native to the deep tropical region of the Americas and it means “food of the gods”.
We all love chocolate, but it was my world travels to South America and my time spent with the native Kuna People off the coast of Panama that led me to the true power of the cocoa bean.