Health Benefits And Harms Of Cocoa, How To Drink, Recipes

Marko Balašević Author: Marko Balašević Time for reading: ~17 minutes Last Updated: September 12, 2022
Health Benefits And Harms Of Cocoa, How To Drink, Recipes

In this article, learn more about Health Benefits And Harms Of Cocoa, How To Drink, Recipes. How to drink cocoa, the benefits and harms of cocoa for health. Cocoa recipes..

 

Cocoa is an ancient drink that was given to us by the Mayan, Inca and Aztec civilizations. In the culture of these peoples, cocoa was a sacred drink - its beneficial properties were known back in those days. People have noticed that the consumption of cocoa beans by animals increases their energy levels, and began to eat this product.

Nowadays, cocoa is not only used to make drinks, but also added to desserts, used in cosmetology, medicine and food hacking.

Cocoa is a dark brown powder that is produced from the seeds of a tree: they are cleaned, roasted, ground and degreased (the resulting cocoa butter is used in cooking and cosmetology).

Types of cocoa

 

  • Insoluble (requires boiling).
  • Soluble (dissolves even in cold water or milk, such cocoa contains sugar).
  • Granulated (contains a maximum of 10% natural cocoa).

How to choose cocoa

 

In order to choose good quality cocoa that will benefit the body, it is important to pay attention to the following nuances:

  • Cocoa composition. It is better to choose products with a high content of cocoa beans, ideally 100%. Inexpensive instant products usually contain a large amount of flavors, emulsifiers, refined sugar, salt. It is not recommended to buy a product that contains cocoa shell (cocoa bean husk shell) - this is an indicator of poor quality and does not have a positive effect on the human body.
  • Color. Uniform, from light brown to dark brown (the darker and richer the color of the powder, the better). A dull, grayish cocoa shade is not allowed.
  • Taste. Real cocoa has a bitter taste, without sourness.
  • Smell. The aroma should be rich, without extraneous shades.
  • Sealed packaging. The packaging must be whole, tightly closed, as cocoa tends to absorb odors.
  • Information on the pack. Net weight, expiration dates, information about nutrition and energy value, information about the manufacturer, trade mark.
  • Fat content not less than 12%. Cocoa with a lower fat content is not absorbed.
  • Grind quality. It should be small and uniform. Important: when grinding cocoa should not turn into dust.
How and how much to store cocoa

The shelf life of natural cocoa (requiring boiling) is a maximum of 6 months, instant cocoa is stored up to 24 months (due to preservatives). After buying cocoa, it is better to pour it into a metal or glass container, store at a temperature of 15-20 degrees, avoid moisture and direct sunlight.

Comparison: Cocoa, Carob, Cocoa and Coffee

Cocoa vs carob

 

  • Carob is not a type of cocoa. Carob powder is made from carob. It looks like cocoa, but does not have tonic properties.
  • Carob is an antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic drink. Carob is used to maintain estrogen levels in the pre- and postmenopausal period.
  • Carob helps to strengthen the immune system, is used in violation of the functions of the gastrointestinal tract. Carob can be an alternative to cocoa in the presence of diseases that preclude its use.
Alkalized cocoa vs natural cocoa

 

Natural cocoa powder is poorly soluble in water or milk, forming a precipitate. To improve the dissolution of cocoa, give it a richer taste, aroma and color, reduce acidity, the powder is subjected to an alkalization process (treatment with an alkaline solution using sodium carbonate or bicarbonate, calcium hydroxide or ammonium).

After such a procedure, cocoa powder becomes more resistant to high temperatures during baking, gives the confectionery a bright taste and rich color. The shelf life also becomes longer compared to classic cocoa.

But! After such processing, cocoa loses most of its useful properties, becomes incompatible with vegetable fats (a bitter, unpleasant aftertaste is formed). Alkalized cocoa can be used for baking, but it is better to use unalkalied cocoa powder for making drinks.

alkalized cocoa mousse recipe

Ingredients:

  • alkalized cocoa - 30 g,
  • coconut cream - 150 ml,
  • cottage cheese - 250 g,
  • Jerusalem artichoke syrup - 15 g,
  • ground nutmeg - 1 g,
  • walnuts - 10 g,
  • mint for decoration - optional.

Cooking method:

  • Combine Jerusalem artichoke syrup and cocoa, mix thoroughly until smooth.
  • Add cream and heat the mass over low heat to 50 degrees, stirring constantly.
  • In a blender, mix the cottage cheese with the resulting mass until a homogeneous consistency, add nutmeg.
  • Arrange in portions, decorate with chopped walnuts and mint leaves.
CACAO VS COCOA

 

Sometimes in stores you can find differences in the spelling of the word "cocoa" in Latin. It is believed that the original spelling of "cocoa" was a mistake. Despite this, from a technical point of view, cocoa and cocoa are essentially the same thing, but COCOA usually refers to a more processed chocolate product with added sugar. CACAO is raw, cleaner and less processed than COCOA. CACAO pods are turned into COCOA and then made into chocolate.

Main differences:

CACAO COCOA High nutritional density (nutrient content per 1 kcal of food. Low nutritional density. No added sugar. With added sugar. Raw product, processed at minimum temperature. Thermally processed product, processed at high temperature.

Raw CACAO has a bitter taste and can be mixed with dried fruits and nuts.

Recipe "Chocolate truffles"

 

Ingredients:

  • CACAO powder - 300 g,
  • coconut cream - 200 g,
  • ghee butter - 100 g,
  • almonds - 30 g,
  • dates without syrup - 50 g,
  • ground cinnamon - 5 g.

Cooking method:

  • Soak almonds for at least 2 hours (can be soaked overnight), rinse, peel and chop.
  • Soak the dates for 30 minutes, rinse, chop.
  • In a saucepan, combine CACAO powder, ghee and coconut cream and, stirring slowly, bring to a smooth consistency.
  • Combine almonds, dates and mass of CACAO and cream, add ground cinnamon.
  • Put in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to thicken the mass.
  • Form into balls and refrigerate for 1 hour to set.
  • Store in the refrigerator in a tightly closed container for 7-10 days.
cocoa paste

 

Cocoa paste is made from carefully selected, roasted, peeled and pureed cocoa beans. Compared to cocoa powder, it contains more fiber, since cocoa beans are even less processed for its preparation than for the production of cocoa powder. Cocoa paste is used to make raw vegan desserts and raw food snacks.

Cocoa cupcake recipe

 

Ingredients

Dough:

  • oatmeal - 70 g,
  • walnuts - 50 g,
  • dates - 70 g,
  • cocoa powder - 50 g.

Filling:

  • cocoa butter - 70 g,
  • maple syrup - 50 g,
  • dates - 50 g,
  • cocoa paste - 70 g,
  • ground cinnamon - 3 g,
  • sea ​​salt - 5 g.

Cooking method:

  • Grind oatmeal, nuts and cocoa in a blender until the consistency of flour.
  • Add dates and mix until smooth.
  • Put 70% of the mass into cupcake molds, form cupcake hats on a plate from the rest of the mass, put in the refrigerator.
  • Melt cocoa butter in a water bath.
  • For the filling, blend cocoa butter, dates, cocoa paste, cinnamon and salt in a blender until creamy.
  • Remove the cupcakes from the molds, put the filling in the center and cover with lids.
  • You can decorate with finely chopped dried cherries or chopped pine nuts.
Coffee vs cocoa Pros Cons of Coffee
  • stimulates the nervous system;
  • raises blood pressure;
  • supports working capacity, improves memory and concentration of attention;
  • thanks to active substances, it helps to speed up metabolism, helps control appetite and reduce weight;
  • promotes an increase in the acidity of gastric juice.
  • can be addictive (false judgment that you can’t raise energy levels without coffee, emotional attachments that need to be worked out);
  • causes an increase in cholesterol levels when consumed excessively;
  • reduces the level of calcium in the blood;
  • Drinking the drink can exacerbate the manifestation of cardiovascular disease.
Cocoa
  • does not affect the functioning of the cardiovascular system (can be used by people with heart disease);
  • improves mood and general tone of the body;
  • does not lead to an increase in blood pressure;
  • helps to remove lactic acid (accumulation in the body leads to disruption of the muscular, respiratory and nervous systems).
  • with active use, accumulation of oxalic acid may occur;
  • when abused, it contributes to the formation of calcium oxalate crystals (injure the intestinal mucosa, deposited in the renal ducts and joints, provoke liver disease and diabetes mellitus);
  • purines, which are in the composition of cocoa, can be deposited in the joints and organs of the genitourinary system with excessive consumption of the drink, provoke an increase in the level of lactic acid (calcium leaching, gout, joint diseases, dehydration, water-salt imbalance).

Nutrients in cocoa

The amount of nutrients in cocoa and cocoa products depends on how they have been processed. Natural, minimally processed cocoa powder is high in nutrients.

Nutrients in cocoa:

Nutrient Daily value in 100 g Daily value in 1 portion (20 g) Proteins (the main building material of the body, muscles, bones, organs are made of it. Hormones, hair and nails are also protein. It is not synthesized in the body, intake from food). 26% 5.20% Fats (contribute to blood renewal, reduce the level of "bad" cholesterol, maintaining the health of blood vessels, slow down aging, maintain the beauty and youthfulness of the skin). 16.3% 3.26% Carbohydrates (slow carbohydrates are a source of energy for the human body, ensure the coherence of biochemical processes in the body). 18.7% 3.74% Iron (supports the immune system, digestion, regulates body temperature, helps oxygenate cells, affects energy levels). 138.6% 20.79% Magnesium (participates in the construction of DNA, regulates the functioning of the nervous system, muscles, helps to convert energy for the body from food). 124.8% 18.72% Phosphorus (responsible for the health and growth of bones, muscle tissue, supports the functioning of the nervous system). 104.9% 15.76% Zinc (necessary for collagen synthesis, enzyme production, immunity formation, skin regeneration processes, nail and hair growth). 61.8% 9.27% ​​Copper (supports bone health, collagen production, increases the body's resistance to infection, supports the health of the nervous system). 420.9% 63.14% Tryptophan (a precursor of serotonin, the hormone of joy and happiness, is involved in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy, is important for the health of the skin, hair and eyes). 36.6% 7.32% Threonine (supports the functioning of the immune system, helps to remove toxins from the body, is important for the functioning of the nervous system). 32.3% 6.46% Valine (important for tissue repair, source of energy for muscle cells). 47.1% 9.42% Creatinine (helps produce energy in the body, participates in the process of saturating cells with water). 2.192 g 9.9% (228 kcal) 1.98%

Useful properties of cocoa

  1. Antioxidant support for the body. Cocoa contains polyphenols that protect cells from aging and damage, while tocopherol supports cell regeneration. Cocoa beans contain a large amount of antioxidant nutrients: vitamins A, E, PP, K, group B, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, manganese, selenium.
  2. A cup of cocoa supports the processes of hematopoiesis and the anticoagulant properties of the blood (due to the content of iron, fatty acids and B vitamins).
  3. Help with coughing, bronchospasm (due to the antispasmodic properties of theophylline, which supports lung function, relieves spasms and inflammation of the airways). It is useful to use cocoa to relieve asthma attacks.
  4. Increased libido, aphrodisiac.
  5. The use of cocoa leads to an increase in potency, cocoa is also useful for improving the quality of spermatozoa.
  6. Immune protection. Retinol, which is part of cocoa, supports the immune system, helping the body resist viral and bacterial infections.
  7. Normalization of blood pressure and prevention of cardiovascular diseases due to the normalization of blood cholesterol levels, blood thinning, and reduction of vasospasm. Cocoa prevents the development of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
  8. Support for brain function by improving blood flow, preventing neurodegenerative diseases, supporting memory (cocoa flavonoids improve memory and speed of cognitive processes).
  9. Prevention of depression, anti-stress support of the body. Cocoa is a source of tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin, a regulator of the emotional state of the body.
  10. Supports the adrenal glands through the production of phenylethylamine.
  11. Flavonoids slow carbohydrate absorption, support insulin production, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  12. Supports liver function and detoxification processes: the bitter taste of cocoa stimulates the flow of bile.
  13. Reduced sugar addiction (occurs with copper deficiency).
  14. Help with coffee withdrawal (cocoa is a source of “safe” caffeine that does not cause addiction).
  15. Weight control. The use of cocoa (namely, good quality cocoa) helps to regulate the process of absorption of carbohydrates and fats, reduces appetite.
  16. Supports oral health with antibacterial ingredients.
  17. Skin protection - polyphenols, which are part of cocoa, protect the skin from exposure to sunlight, maintain the integrity of the cell structure, and improve blood circulation. Fatty acids improve skin elasticity. Vitamin E helps maintain an even complexion, get rid of peeling and dryness.
  18. Cocoa is also useful for the growth of muscle cells, catechins slow down the age-related decrease in muscle mass.
  19. Cocoa contains polyphenols that strengthen mitochondria (produce energy for the entire body, support the processes of digestion, hematopoiesis, immune defense of the body, youth and cell health, regulate the processes of cell division and death, participate in the work of neurotransmitters and the transmission of nerve impulses - ensure normal mental activity and energy, support the production of sex and adrenal hormones, as well as detoxification processes in the liver).

Of course, cocoa is very useful. A cup of cocoa will support the work of the body. But do not get carried away with this natural stimulant and forget about the possible harm of cocoa: the constant acceleration of metabolic processes, an increased level of activity can lead to exhaustion of the body. Instead of feeling cheerful, cocoa will cause drowsiness and apathy, and regular overdoses of caffeine can cause health problems.

Harm cocoa

 

Excess consumption of cocoa can lead to negative consequences:

  • increased excitation of the nervous system causes sleep disturbances, mood swings, decreased energy levels;
  • the accumulation of oxalic acid, purines, oxalates with excessive consumption and impaired metabolism leads to disruption of the bladder and urinary tract, the development of gout and the formation of kidney stones.

How much cocoa can you drink per day?

  • cocoa is not recommended for children under 3 years old;
  • for children 3-6 years old, one small cup of cocoa (100-150 ml) is acceptable 1-2 times a week;
  • for children from 6 years old and adolescents, one cup of cocoa per day is allowed, up to 3-4 times a week;
  • adults can use 250-500 ml per day;
  • A safe adult portion of chocolate (with at least 50% cocoa) is a maximum of 50g per day.
Why is it important to brew cocoa?

Cocoa powder has a solid structure. Therefore, in order for cocoa to open up and give all its beneficial properties to the drink, it is necessary to bring it to a boil and simmer for some time (usually up to 3 minutes).

When is the best time to drink cocoa?

It is recommended to drink a cup of cocoa in the morning. Toward evening, cocoa can have a stimulating effect due to the caffeine contained in the drink.

Contraindications

It is important to note that in some diseases, cocoa can be harmful.

Contraindications:

  • the use of cocoa is harmful during exacerbation of diseases of the pancreas;
  • when using cocoa, an exacerbation of gastrointestinal diseases, increased acidity of gastric juice is possible (cocoa stimulates the production of gastric juice);
  • cocoa can contribute to the development of gout (provokes increased production of uric acid in the body);
  • the use of cocoa is unacceptable in case of individual intolerance, allergic reactions;
  • cocoa has a stimulating effect, it is harmful to use this drink during lactation;
  • the use of cocoa exacerbates the manifestations of increased excitability of the nervous system.

You can argue about what is more useful - drinking coffee, cocoa, carob or CACAO, endlessly. Recall the common truth: there are no uniquely bad or good products, it's all about quality and quantity.

A cup of coffee or cocoa in the morning will not do harm, but will only benefit.

It is important not to spoil the drink with refined sugar. If necessary, you can use vegetable milk, ghee, coconut oil, and experiment with spices. Perfect cinnamon, pepper, salt, nutmeg, cardamom, star anise or cloves. These spices will not only add useful properties to the drink, but also stimulate the taste buds.

Recipes with cocoa

Cocoa with cinnamon

 

Benefits of cinnamon: supports brain function, lowers blood sugar levels, supports immunity and protects cells from aging.

Ingredients:

  • cocoa powder - 2 teaspoons,
  • boiling water - 20 ml,
  • coconut milk - 200 ml,
  • pink Himalayan salt - 2 g,
  • ground cinnamon - 3 g,
  • sweetener - to taste.

Cooking method:

  • Combine cocoa powder, salt and ground cinnamon.
  • Pour hot water over and stir until smooth.
  • Pour milk into a saucepan, heat a little and pour in a mixture of cocoa, spices and water.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Cook over low heat for another 3 minutes.
cocoa on the water

 

Cocoa on the water is a great option for those who are overweight or have carbohydrate metabolism disorders (insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes). In a serving of such a drink without sugar and milk - only 60 kcal.

Ingredients:

  • cocoa powder - 20 g,
  • ghee butter - 5 g,
  • boiling water - 200 g,
  • ground cloves - 2 g,
  • ground nutmeg - 2 g.

Cooking method:

  • Mix cocoa powder, ground cloves and nutmeg.
  • Add 50 g of hot water and stir until smooth.
  • Pour the rest of the water into the pan, add the diluted cocoa, stirring constantly until a homogeneous mass is formed.
  • Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add ghee (can be replaced with coconut oil).

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cocoa flip

 

Almond milk is a source of protein, has antioxidant properties (vitamin E, which is part of milk, protects cells from aging and inflammation).

Ingredients:

  • cocoa powder - 20 g,
  • egg yolk (raw) - 1 pc.,
  • almond milk - 200 g,
  • boiling water - 20 g,
  • sweetener - to taste.

Cooking method:

  • Combine cocoa powder with hot water and stir until smooth.
  • Put the pan on the fire, pour the milk into it, heat and add the diluted cocoa powder, bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove cocoa from heat and let cool.
  • Beat the yolk with the sweetener, combine with cocoa and hold on the fire for a little (1-2 minutes), without bringing to a boil.
  • Consume immediately after preparation.
Recipe "Chocolate Cookie"

 

Ingredients:

  • coconut oil - 150 g,
  • Jerusalem artichoke syrup - 50 g,
  • chicken egg - 1 pc.,
  • natural vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon,
  • baking soda - 0.5 teaspoon,
  • cocoa powder - 200 g,
  • black chocolate without sugar (cocoa content - at least 70%) - 100 g,
  • dates without syrup - 3-4 pieces.

Cooking method:

  • Melt coconut oil at room temperature.
  • Mix coconut oil and Jerusalem artichoke syrup in a bowl.
  • Whisk together the egg and vanilla extract and add to the butter.
  • Stir in baking soda and cocoa powder in turn until a homogeneous mass is formed.
  • Grate the chocolate on a coarse grater, cut the dates into small pieces and add everything to the total mass.
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon the mixture into circles.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool.
Cocoa smoothie recipe

 

Ingredients:

  • coconut milk - 200 ml,
  • avocado - 0.5 pcs.,
  • chia seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • cocoa powder - 1 teaspoon
  • cucumber - 1 pc.,
  • water - 50 ml,
  • ground cinnamon - 2 g.

Cooking method:

  • Mix all ingredients in a blender.
  • Garnish with ground cinnamon.

How else can cocoa be used?

Cocoa body scrub

 

Ingredients:

  • cocoa powder - 50 g,
  • cane sugar - 30 g,
  • fine sea salt - 30 g,
  • coconut oil - 30 g.

Cooking method:

  • Melt butter.
  • Combine cocoa, sugar, salt and butter.
  • Mix until smooth.
  • Use 1-2 times a week, applying with massage movements.
  • Store at room temperature in a glass jar with a tight lid, away from water and direct sunlight.
Rejuvenating cocoa face mask

 

Suitable for all skin types, helps eliminate puffiness and refresh the complexion.

Ingredients:

  • cocoa powder - 30 g,
  • essential oil of lavender and jasmine (2-3 drops each),
  • liquid honey - 1 teaspoon,
  • alkaline water - 20–30 g.

Method of preparation and use:

  • Mix cocoa and honey until smooth.
  • If necessary, add water gradually until the desired consistency is obtained.
  • Add essential oils.
  • Apply to the skin, avoiding the area around the eyes.
  • Wash off after 10-15 minutes.
  • Use as needed.
aromatherapy

The rich, sweet flavor of cocoa can evoke feelings of pleasure. The aroma of cocoa activates the same brain neurotransmitters as when eating chocolate.

Life hack: if you have an acute desire to eat a chocolate bar, just open a pack of cocoa and inhale the aroma.

Cocoa oil

 

  • helps relieve inflammation, heal wounds, burns;
  • supports the health of hair follicles and promotes hair growth;
  • used as an anti-cellulite agent due to the content of caffeine, which enhances blood circulation.
Cocoa Butter Massage Bar

 

Helps fight the manifestations of cellulite, start lymph flow, increase skin elasticity.

Ingredients:

  • cocoa butter - 30 g,
  • beeswax - 15 g,
  • red hot pepper - 5 g,
  • cocoa powder - 10 g,
  • orange essential oil - 2-3 drops.

Cooking method:

  • Melt the cocoa butter and beeswax in a steam bath.
  • Combine with the rest of the ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour into silicone mold and leave to cool.
  • Store in a tin or glass jar at room temperature. Avoid moisture and direct sunlight.
  • Use after bath and shower 1-2 times a week, massaging into the skin.

Cocoa is a drink that, when consumed in moderation, can be an excellent coffee substitute, maintain energy levels and serve as a source of nutrients necessary for the full functioning of the body. 

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