Cocoa beans enjoy numerous beneficial properties, including antioxidant and energetic ones, but not only. But be careful not to overdo it!
Cocoa has been known since the age of ancient South American civilizations as the “food of the Gods”. There are very few people who do not like this product which, in addition to being good, contains many properties. The cocoa bean, still not very widespread, is actually the purest and most beneficial expression of the plant botanically known as Theobroma Cacao.
Cocoa beans are nothing more than raw cocoa beans inside which there are many mineral salts and vitamins. Therefore, although the name may be misleading, cocoa beans are not legumes. From these berries are also extracted the best known cocoa butter and cocoa powder that lend themselves to many uses, food and otherwise.
Cocoa beans and raw cocoa in general can be considered an excellent supplement to a healthy diet due to their particular characteristics. In fact, they act as a natural energizer and stimulant of the nervous system but also have antidepressant and antioxidant properties.
Cocoa beans: beneficial properties
Many scientific researches in the past years have focused on cocoa, discovering very interesting properties, but even today those who study the effects of this plant on the human organism are always discovering new potential. The list of benefits that consumption of (moderate) dark chocolate can bring is long. Let’s see the main properties of raw cocoa.
We all noticed it a bit, when a bit of despair and transient sadness appears, a few squares of chocolate may be enough to lift the mood. The effect of raw cocoa in this sense is even stronger. It is in fact particularly rich in magnesium (a mineral essential for the well-being of the nervous system as well as for bones and teeth) but also capable of inducing the secretion of endorphins and serotonin (known as the hormone of good mood) with an antidepressant effect.
The benefits of cocoa beans are also very evident on the energy they provide to the body. Thanks to the presence of mineral salts and vitamins, they behave like a real natural supplement for our body. Among the substances present in cocoa are magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium and B vitamins.
Thanks to the presence of substances such as theobromine, among the properties of raw cocoa and cocoa beans there is that of giving a boost to the body, stimulating the nervous system. An effect similar to that provided by caffeine which, among other things, cocoa also contains in a very small percentage. A moderate consumption therefore improves concentration while an excess can create problems of nervousness and anxiety.
✓ Antioxidants and beneficial for the heart
Cocoa berries contain many antioxidants which, combined with a healthy diet, physical activity and a healthy lifestyle in general, can help protect us from diseases due to cellular aging. These are polyphenols, flavonoids, catechins and epicatechins which, among other things, help blood circulation and are therefore precious allies of the heart. In addition, they have a beneficial action against “bad” cholesterol, preventing oxidation, thus reducing the cardiovascular risk.
✓ Raw cocoa helps metabolism
Recent scientific research has shown that raw cocoa is able to stimulate the body’s metabolism. The exact opposite of what was previously believed, since chocolate has always been associated with weight gain. Instead, it seems that, thanks to some antioxidants known as catechins, cocoa is able to act positively on the metabolism.
Uses of raw cocoa
Cocoa beans and their properties can be exploited in different ways. In fact, they exist on the market in various forms: raw or roasted cocoa beans (both in their entirety and without the outer skin that wraps them), normal chocolate bars enriched with cocoa berries, raw cocoa bars or powder to add for example to smoothies, drinks or foods.
To get more benefits from this natural product, we advise you to choose the variants that use raw cocoa beans from organic cultivation.
If you want to try the cocoa beans (beans) you can choose to munch them mid-morning or mid-afternoon as a snack instead of fresh or dried fruit. In this way they can be considered a “hunger breaker” also seen that they contain many substances useful to the body in the face of a low calorie intake.
Alternatively, if you are sporty, you can eat a few cocoa beans before training in order to take advantage of all their energizing and remineralizing power. Also excellent as a healthy snack for students who need concentration when, for example, they are preparing for an exam.
Keep in mind that the flavor of raw cocoa is much stronger and more intense than that of the traditional bars we all know. Not always and not everyone likes it, let’s say that sometimes it is necessary to accustom the palate a little, in other cases it is love at first sight. If you love the bitter taste of extra dark chocolate, then you might like cocoa beans a lot!
Contraindications of cocoa beans
Despite the many benefits of cocoa beans, one must be careful not to overdo it especially to avoid excessive stimulation of the nervous system which can lead to tachycardia, anxiety, hypertension and other annoying symptoms. In some cases, cocoa can be allergenic, if you notice strange reactions it is better to avoid its consumption. We also remind you that cocoa beans are not legumes and can also be consumed by those suffering from favism.
Where to buy raw cocoa beans
Raw cocoa and cocoa beans are now on sale in the most well-stocked organic shops, herbalists and online shops. In various sites, especially those dedicated to raw food, they can be found in different variants and purchased in small sizes as well as in larger quantities, suitable for those who consume more constant over time.