What are cocoa flavonoids?
Cocoa flavonoids are the latest buzz in nutrition. They are the compounds found in cacao beans and offer a ton of health benefits. But before we dive into the nitty-gritty details of cocoa flavonoids, let’s take a step back and understand what they actually mean.
Cocoa is processed from cacao beans which contain over 4000 natural chemical compounds. One group of these compounds, which scientists have been studying extensively for their potential health benefits, cannot be overlooked – as you guessed it flavanols (also called flavan-3-ol or catechins – yeah doctors can’t seem to agree on one name).
Can We Get Our Daily Dose Of Flavanols From Chocolate?
Most chocolate products sold today go through intense processing including roasting and alkalization that alter its original composition to improve taste+shelf life/make our tongues dance with joy using more sugar (and other additives) making them low-flavonoid chocolates instead.
Therefore it’s important to note that just because you buy something labelled “dark” or “whatever-percent-cocoa,” doesn’t necessarily make them high in flavanols – unless these supplements/chocolates/foods/ beverages claim explicitly boast high/flavanol content!
How do Cocoa Flavonoids Help Us?
Now let’s move onto good stuff: the exciting news about how these little microbes can help us!
Protect Cardiac Muscles + Lower BP
Scientists believe consuming foods rich in flavanol could reduce by improving blood flow within arteries – this has seen people consume dark chocolate daily(over six months) seeing reduced blood pressure levels when compared to those who ate white candy bars(cardiologists around me still argue if its OK)
Increase Endurance + Boost Mood
According to Dr Peter R.C Scott from University of Brighton UK observed that consuming flavanols 1 hour ahead improved physical performance in healthy young men during a cycling test, followed by better cognitive response and brightened moods – getting on with our day’s tasks couldn’t get easier!
Lower Risks of Cancer + Chronic Disease
Flavanol-based supplement consumption could lower risks associated with cancer-related deaths(short- long term), heart disease as well as Type-2 Diabetic symptoms. Also shown effectiveness in reducing free oxygen radical activity ( ..does it mean something? Scientists love crafty words)
Manage Stress + Boost Your Immunity
In studies conducted at Nestle Research Center Switzerland , participants consuming high-flavanol cocoa before-public speaking exhibited reduced anxiety compared to those who had low-flavonoid bars.Immune system strengthening is also attributed partly to these compounds.
How Can You Add Flavanols In Your Diet?
It’s easy-peasy! You can add some bittersweet flavanol powerhouses into your diet without breaking the bank or feeling limited:
Raw Cocoa Powder
A heaped tablespoon of unsweetened organic cocoa powder contains over 75mg of brain-bending flavanol power(thrice that found in average chocolate bar). It packs an intense chocolaty punch so introduce slowly if you never tried raw cacao before. Sprinkle over yoghurt/porridge/smoothies mix for next-level breakfast boosters.
Cocoa nibs which are husked pieces of roasted cocoa beans contain plenty more nutients including magnesium, iron, fiber & prebiotics.Getting crackly and light snacking sensation coupled with about 100-grams per serve additional fibre alongside flavanoids?(Oh yeah, yes please!)
Dark Chocolate(constantly affected by recent processing advancements)
Grabbing dark chocolate packed with increased amounts aka optimally processed(fortunately)flavanols(eg.:90+% Swiss brands) could be the most indulgent + easiest way of boosting daily intake. Goes quite well with red wines, nuts & berries/dried fruits.Think your heart and immune system would thank you?
Okay, before we wrap up our cocoa-flavanoid love-fest ;it’s worthy to shed light on undisputed potential drawbacks:
- Excessive consumption=unnecessary calorie gains
- No official top-end dosage(Dr.Oz disagrees with Skeptical Nutritionist from Oxford)
- Combining flavanol supplements along other medications(i.e blood thinners) must only follow physician’s instructions.
- Sensitive parties may report complications including bloating or headaches – nothing stands between you and making good choices!
Cocoa flavonoids are a fantastic nutrient to include in your diet if you’re looking for that extra bit of health boost throughout the day (and want some excuses to eat more chocolate). You can consume them easily through raw cocoa powder or nibs without having to break the bank.
It is important to note though, that despite their many benefits, they also have some downsides such as unnecessary calorie gain from excessive consumption+no proper top limit so don’t go wild ! So keep this information in mind while enjoying these delicious powerhouses!