We tell you everything about Cocoa, discover its origin, benefits and properties!
What is Cocoa?
It is a tree native to America, also known as cocoa tree.
It produces a fruit of the same name whose seeds are the main ingredient of chocolate
Its cultivation started in the tropical jungles of Mexico, Central America and South America. After colonizing the American continent, it started to be taken to Europe around the 15th century.
Currently, the cultivation of cocoa has spread to Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico. Outside America, we can find cocoa fields in Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Togo, Congo, Cameroon, Ghana as well as Indonesia and Malaysia.
Types of Cocoa
It is the most cultivated one, since it is used to produce chocolate tablets. These plants are easy to take care of, since they need a low-maintenance while providing a consistent flavor to the chocolate.
This type produces a grain with an aromatic flavor. The trees are hard to cultivate because they are susceptible to different diseases.
Due to the low production rate, the cocoa beans are expensive.
This plant is a hybrid between Forastero and Criollo cocoa. It came to be after trying to combine the resistance of the Forastero with the flavor of the Criollo. The aim was to produce a tasty bean that would be easy to cultivate and resistant to diseases.
Properties of Cocoa
It contains many nutritious substances, such as: proteins, tannins, starches, organic acids, salts and trace elements, carbohydrates and water, to name a few.
In addition, its composition contains important elements such as: anandamide, arginine, dopamine, epicatechin, histamine, magnesium, serotonin, tryptophan, phenylethylamine, polyphenols, tyramine, salsolinol and flavonoids.
It also provides theobromine, which increases the serotonin and dopamine levels to produce a stimulant effect.
This marvel from nature stands out due to its high energy supply too
Main uses of Cocoa
Chocolate is the most common product made with cocoa.
You just have to mix the cocoa powder and cocoa butter with refined sugar. Then, we can add other ingredients such as milk or nuts for example.
It is a traditionally sweet recipe and we will obtain different types of chocolate depending on the proportion of the ingredients.
- Taking cocoa seeds can help us control and sometimes even eliminate arrhythmia.
- The seeds also have diuretic properties, which is why they help to eliminate the fluids from the body.
- The oil extracted from the seed is used to treat skin problems, burns, wounds and rashes.
- Cocoa powder can help with arteriosclerosis and arthrosis.
- Take one spoonful mixed with honey in the morning to treat tiredness.
- Use the green leaves from the plant to disinfect and heal wounds.
- Cocoa butter is used for cracks in the face, lips or breasts.
- An infusion made from cocoa leaves or seeds can help you treat asthma.
- Drink an infusion made from the shell with honey to improve a magnesium deficiency.
Cosmetic use of chocolate
Cocoa butter is also used as a cosmetic product to treat wrinkles, stretch marks, as well as to make lipsticks and even haircare products.
Benefits for our Health
As we mentioned previously, this ingredient is rich in minerals, antioxidants, fiber, nutrients and other substances. Therefore, it is an important ally for our health.
Some of its main benefits are:
Its flavonoids have antioxidant properties that help to prevent some heart diseases. These antioxidants also have benefits for our cells, protecting them from the free radicals.
Therefore, it strengthens the cardiovascular system
In addition, flavonoids also improve the memory and other cognitive processes, strengthening the brain system.
Cocoa stimulates the production of endorphins, improving the mood and helping us deal with physical or mental stress. Other elements such as tryptophan or phenylethylamine can also help in this regard.
Moreover, the magnesium from the seed nourishes the nervous system and muscles.
It provides fiber, which helps to eliminate the toxic substances from the organism and regulates both the blood glucose and fatty acid levels.
Some uses in cosmetics
- 30g of cocoa powder
- 3 spoonfuls of olive oil
- 1 natural yogurt
- Mix all the ingredients to spread the paste on your face for 30 minutes, once a week.
- 30g of beeswax
- 30g of cocoa butter
- 30ml of olive oil
- 15g of beetroot powder
- First of all, put all the ingredients in a hot water bath, except for the essential oils. Add them once you turn off the heat and mix everything properly. Then, put the liquid on a mold or empty lip balms.
- It will solidify once it cools down and it will be ready to use.
- “Casa cacao. El viaje de vuelta al origen del chocolate” Jordi Roca e Ignacio Medina
- “Chocolate. History, culture and heritage” Louis Evan Grivetti y Howard-Yana Shapiro
- “Tratado de Nutrición. Composición y calidad Nutritiva de los alimentos” M. D. Ruiz
- Buy Cocoa.
- Theobromine is a substance that is present in cocoa and it has benefit for weight loss, keep reading....
- Do you want to learn how to cook a delicious Avocado and Cocoa Mousse? Then, click on this link.