The powerful and yummy cocoa

The antioxidants within cocoa can help improve health.

Humans have enjoyed the rich, smooth taste of chocolate since its invention nearly 1900 B.C. ago by the Aztecs. Cocoa had many meanings such as a sign of romance, commitment and was even used as currency.

People all over the world continue to consume chocolate but Norway leads the world in its chocolate consumption (19.8 lbs. per capita/ per year). Cocoa is used to make chocolate, and cocoa comes from fruit produced by the cocoa tree, botanically named Theobroma cacao. The naturally bitter tasting cocoa bean is roasted, shelled and ground then sweetened to produce a heavenly tasting chocolate product.

Lucky for all the chocolate lovers of the world, the cocoa bean has a variety of health benefits. Cocoa contains flavonoids called flavanols which are antioxidants that combat damage to our cells, assist in lowering blood pressure and increase blood flow to the brain and heart, in turn improving memory and heart health. Studies have shown a correlation between high cocoa and chocolate consumption and decreased risk for cardiovascular disease.

However, not all chocolate is created equal; opt for dark chocolate as it contains more cocoa than milk chocolate. The more cocoa the better. So next time you reach for a chocolate bar, go for the higher percentage of cocoa and enjoy the added health benefits associated with dark chocolate

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