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Just like green tea and raw milk, cocoa powder is a super-hyped food that piqued the attention of millennials. However, the popularity of cocoa powder and products is not a result of clever marketing. The intake of cocoa has in fact proven to impart a variety of benefits including improving brain functioning and blood circulation of the body.
Cocoa butter has a huge demand in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries to manufacture various skincare products. In fact, according to a research firm, Allied Market Research, the global cocoa products market is expected to $30.2 billion in 2026, registering a CAGR of 3.1% CAGR from 2019 to 2026.
It is primarily known for its role in chocolate production. However, according to several researchers, cocoa contains a vital component, Polyphenols that can improve your health. Know more about the help benefits of cocoa:
Benefits of Cocoa
Polyphenols are known as naturally occurring antioxidants. Fruits, vegetables, wine, and cocoa are the commonly known sources of polyphenols.
Polyphenol is often linked to several health benefits including better blood regulation, inflammation, reducing blood pressure, and controlling blood sugar levels. Moreover, it can help improve cholesterol levels.
However, processed or heated cocoa loses its beneficial properties.
Our circulatory system circulates around 2,000 gallons’ worth of blood every day and–if we put in layman’s terms–cocoa helps regulate levels of nitric oxide in your body that relaxes the walls of your veins. It makes them pliable and enhances the flow of bold. In short, cocoa helps circulate oxygen and nutrients to vital organs.
Cocoa powder contains flavonoids including catechin, procyanidin, and epicatechin. In moderate amounts, it helps to protect cells from damage and strengthens the heart.
Moreover, it averts the formation of blood clots that can be fatal if it leads to cardiac failure. The flavonoids also contain anti-platelet aggregating effects, which ultimately prevent thrombosis and atherosclerosis.
It is observed that cocoa helps reduce bad LDL cholesterol and has similar properties to aspirin. It aids in reducing inflammation and improving blood sugar.
According to various researchers, cocoa may help in maintaining the health of the brain. The flavonoids in cocoa have neuroprotective benefits and can help in improving learning abilities and memory.
Thus, the demand for cocoa products has boosted over the last few years. Several findings suggested that the consumption of cocoa-based products improves the blood flow to the brain and it can help cure vascular disorders.
Flavanols involve in the biochemical pathways that create neurons, which are essential for the healthy functioning of your brain. Moreover, it produces nitric oxide that relaxes the muscles of blood vessels.
Moreover, it can aid those who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
As mentioned above, cocoa-based products positively impact age-related mental degeneration. It also helps improve symptoms of depression.
It is observed that cocoa products help improve mood and fight depression by promoting cognitive activities during mental exertion. Furthermore, the presence of neurochemical phenylethylamine in cocoa aids in promoting aphrodisiac effects and enhancing feelings of contentment.
This could be due to cocoa’s flavanols, conversion of tryptophan to natural mood stabilizer serotonin, or mere pleasure of eating chocolate.
For diabetes patients, chocolates are certainly enemies. However, somewhat paradoxically, cocoa has some anti-diabetic effects. Some studies suggest that cocoa can reduce the speed of carbohydrate digestion as well as absorption in the gut. This, in turn, improves insulin secretion and reduces inflammation.
Eating flavanol-rich dark chocolate can minimize insulin sensitivity and improve control over blood sugar. However, more studies are required in this matter.
Flavanols found in vegetables and fruits gather attention due to its cancer-protecting properties. Cocoa too has a high concentration of flavanols and its addition to the diet could help fight cancer.
In fact, cocoa has shown beneficial effects of inhibiting cancer cell growth without affecting the growth of normal cells.
Test tube studies demonstrated that cocoa protects cells against inflammation and induces cancer cell death, which inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
To sum this all
Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, cocoa is observed to be effective in reducing weight, aiding to control asthma, and improving the health of teeth and skin.
Cocoa has been a big part of modern cuisine as chocolate. However, its benefits such as helping in regulating blood flow and improving mental health make it more attractive. It is easy to add cocoa into our diet but, make sure it is a dark chocolate of non-alkalized cocoa powder, which is rich in cocoa.
On the contrary, you must keep in mind that chocolate contains significant amounts of sugar and fats. Thus, if you want to add cocoa in your diet by consuming chocolate, combine it with a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise.
Cocktails for Chocolate Lovers
This Valentine’s Day, indulge in this decadently delicious chocolate cocktails to celebrate the day of love. Not only is it healthy, it is also an amazing ingredient for cocktails.
Chocolate White Russian
This creamy and chocolatey version of the White Russian will surely hook you forever.
- 1 c Domino Granulated Sugar
- 1 c Rodelle Organic Baking Cocoa Powder
- 1 c water
- 1/2 tsp Morton Kosher Salt
- 10 ml Watkins Gourmet Vanilla
- 1 c ice
- 15ml cocoa syrup
- 40ml vodka
- 25ml Kahlua
- 40ml Devon Double Cream
- Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate
Instruction to make
- Make the cocoa syrup
- In a saucepan, add the ingredients of the cocoa syrup.
- Bring to a simmer until the cocoa is dissolved. Let cool.
- Assemble the cocktail
- Add ice into a double old-fashioned glass.
- Add the cocoa syrup, vodka, Kahlua, and double cream.
- Stir well and garnish with crumbled chocolate bar. Stick 1/2 chocolate bar into the cocktail.
Chocolate Covered Moscato Strawberries
Moscato wine garnished with chocolate covered strawberries is a must for a Valentine’s Day date. Fill the air with love with this dangerously seductive combination of wine, chocolate and strawberries.
- 2 cups strawberries
- 1 bot Moscato
- 150g Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate, chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 50g Lindt Classic White Chocolate
Instruction to make
- Put the strawberries in a bowl large enough to hold at least 1 liter.
- Pour 1 bottle of Moscato over the strawberries.
- Steep for four hours, then drain.
- In a microwaveable bowl, add the chopped dark chocolate and coconut oil.
- Microwave for 2 minutes.
- Line a tray with wax paper.
- Dunk each strawberry into the melted chocolate.
- Microwave the white chocolate for 2 minutes.
- Transfer into a piping bag.
- Drizzle over the chocolate covered strawberries. Chill for 20 minutes.
- Fill a champagne flute with Moscato. Garnish with chocolate covered strawberry.
Brownie & White Chocolate Freakshake
You’ll really freak out with this sinfully delicious creamy cocktail made with chocolate ice cream, chocolate brownies and liquors.
- 4 scoops chocolate ice cream
- 1/4 c chocolate brownies
- 2 tbsp Happy Belly Raw Wildflower Honey
- 100ml dark rum
- 100ml Bailey's Irish Cream
- 1 c milk
- 100ml Lindt Classic White Chocolate
- 2 tbsp Chef’s Select Chocolate Sprinkles
- Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate, cut 1” each
- Lindt Classic White Chocolate, cut 1” each
- Ghirardelli Chocolate Premium Syrup
- Dream Whip Whipping Cream
Instruction to make
- In a blender, add all the ingredients and blend well.
- Rim a mason jar by dipping it in melted white chocolate and chocolate sprinkles.
- Fill the mason jar with the ice cream-liquor mixture.
- Top with whipped cream, dark chocolate bar, white chocolate bar.
- Drizzle with chocolate syrup on top.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Pot Shots
Why just drink from it when you can eat it? These chocolate pots filled with peanut butter and liquor shots are so delicious it should be considered illegal. Fill the pot with a few more shots then eat it up before it melts on your fingers. Yum!
- 400g Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate
- 150g Peanut Butter & Co. Smooth Operator
- 175ml spiced rum
- 200g condensed milk
- 125ml Devon Double Cream
- 1 tsp Folgers Instant Coffee
- 1 tsp Watkins Gourmet Vanilla
- Microwave the chocolate for 1 minute.
- Spray olive oil to a silicon mold for cups. Freeze for 20 minutes
- Blend together the peanut butter, spiced rum, milk, cream, coffee and vanilla.
- Chill for 20 minutes.
- Remove the chocolate cup from the mold.
- Fill with the cocktail. Serve immediately.
Chocolate Hazelnut Liqueur Martini
This liqueur can be used in other cocktail drinks calling for chocolate liqueur. Store it in the fridge for a to-go spike for your coffee, chocolate drink or even brownies. You can also drink it on its own. No one will ever suspect that this is a homemade liqueur.
1 c milk
1/4 c Domino Granulated Sugar
3/4 c Devon Double Cream
3/4 c dark rum
Instruction to make
In a saucepan, add the milk, sugar, cream, and choco hazelnut spread. Simmer and let cool.
Add dark rum into the cooled liqueur. Store in a sealed bottle.
To make the martini, rim a martini glass by dipping into melted chocolate and chocolate sprinkles.
Drizzle some chocolate syrup into the martini glass. Fill with the choco hazelnut liqueur.
The liqueur can be used to spike your coffee or just serve on the rocks.
Boozy S’mores Hot Chocolate
Perfect for college camp out, this Boozy S’mores is a way to cap a day full of challenges. Sit around a bonfire and relax as you sip your hot choco drink. That is, after you delight yourself in the hot marshmallows drizzled with chocolate syrup. Just perfect!
2 tbsp Folgers Instant Coffee
2 tbsp Domino Granulated Sugar
1 liter whole milk
1 tsp Morton Kosher Salt
100ml dark rum
100 ml Irish cream
3 tbsps Nutella Choco Hazelnut Spread
In a saucepan, add the instant coffee, sugar, cocoa powder and milk. Heat up on low heat until cocoa powder is dissolved thoroughly, stirring constantly.
Add the dark chocolate, 6 tbsp choco hazelnut spread, salt, dark rum, and Irish cream into the saucepan. Simmer until the chocolate is completely dissolved. Stir continuously.
Microwave 3 tbsp choco hazelnut spread.
Dip the glass coffee mug into the choco hazelnut spread and crushed grahams.
Fill the mug with the chocolate liqueur up to three-quarters full.
Cram 3-4 large marshmallows into the mug.
Brown the top of the marshmallows with a kitchen torch.
Drizzle with chocolate syrup and top with crushed grahams.
Fluffernutter Mudslide Goblet
Another treat for marshmallow lovers out there! Hot marshmallows on top of a chocolate slushie is a treat any chocolate lover should have.
2 scoops crushed ice
60ml Irish cream
In a blender, add the ice, marshmallows, peanut butter, milk, Kahlua, Irish cream and vodka. Blend well.
Put the chocolate syrup in a piping bag. Drizzle the inside of a wine glass.
Cram a handful of marshmallows into the wine glass.
Brown the top of the marshmallows with a kitchen torch. Serve.
Peanut Butter Rum Cups
Peanut butter plus chocolate blend well together in this cocktail. Easy to prepare, the Peanut Butter Rum Cups is a real treat for the chocolate and peanut butter lover.
1 scoop ice
40ml white rum
50ml chocolate liqueur
1/4 c crushed peanuts
Instruction to make
In a shaker, add the ice, rum, chocolate liqueur, milk and peanut butter. Shake vigorously.
Rim a whiskey glass by dipping it into the chocolate syrup and crushed peanuts.
Drizzle the inside of the glass with more chocolate syrup.
Fill the glass with the liqueur. Garnish with a chocolate nougat bar.