FREE Shipping on orders over $899

WhatsApp Customer Service

Properties and benefits of Cocoa

Properties and benefits of Cocoa

Since ancient times, multiple beneficial properties have been attributed to cocoa and its variants such as chocolate, which have positioned this food as therapeutic rather than nutritional.

Among the properties of cocoa, it is worth highlighting its powerful antioxidant activity, the ability to inhibit cellular inflammation pathways involved in multiple diseases and the regulation of the central nervous system.

The origin of cocoa

With a little flavor of Mexico, let's talk about chocolate that, although it is consumed all over the world, whether in bars, in desserts and in all its varieties, we know that it is not just a pleasure, it is a food that began as a drink of the It was said that it was from the gods since it was given aphrodisiac powers by producing great vitality.

Cocoa is where the chocolate drink originates from the Nahuatl word: xocolatl, being a mixture of the paste, the cocoa seed butter plus water, herbs and spices, achieving a very strong and even bitter flavor but It had stimulating effects.

And Mexico is the one that made cocoa known to the world, the Olmecs being the ones who tasted cocoa in this way, later spreading to the Aztec and Mayan civilizations and they gave the xocolatl to the Spanish conquerors as a gift. Christopher Columbus was the first conquistador to try it, so some time later those in the colony did their own thing by adding sugar and many years later they also combined it with milk like what we now drink when it's cold.

The cultures of ancient Mesoamerica (much of the territory of Mexico and some Central American countries during the period from 2500 BC to 1521 BC) used cocoa beans in various drinks and dishes. These preparations were later used to:

  • Perform rituals
  • Fight certain diseases
  • Stimulate appetite
  • Increase physical resistance
  • Reduce fatigue

Composition of cocoa and chocolate

  • Chocolate has a fairly complete nutritional composition. Chocolate stands out for its high amount of polyphenols, especially flavonoids, which are inversely correlated with cardiovascular risk.
  • Although epicatechin is the flavonoid found in greatest quantity, cocoa and chocolate are also composed of flavonol glycosides, catechins, anthocyanins and procyanidins.
  • Finally, within minerals, both chocolate and cocoa are important sources of magnesium, copper, potassium and iron.

Properties of cocoa on cardiovascular health and inflammation

  • Cocoa and dark chocolate (whose percentage of cocoa is predominant) have been widely studied in populations. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that cocoa consumption increases the production of nitric oxide (since it activates nitric oxide synthase), a gas that is responsible for dilating blood vessels and keeping blood pressure in balance. .
  • Likewise, nitric oxide has anti-inflammatory activity, since it reduces platelet aggregation and the production of foam cells (macrophages) that are involved in the formation of atheromatous plaque.
  • Daily consumption of dark chocolate contributes to maintaining cardiovascular health given its antihypertensive effects. Its main route of action is through the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.
  • In this pathway, chocolate polyphenols inhibit the angiotensin-converting enzyme, which increases sodium concentration and retains fluids, contributing to elevated blood pressure.
  • On the other hand, a study published in Frontiers in Immunology showed that consumption of 45 grams of dark chocolate (70% cocoa) increases flow-mediated dilation in blood vessels, improving blood pressure.
  • With the consumption of 100 grams of dark chocolate for 2 weeks, a reduction in systolic (up to 4.1 mm/Hg) and diastolic (between 1.8-8.5 mm/Hg) blood pressure was observed.

Bitter chocolate

  • The properties of cocoa, present in dark chocolate, contribute to improving endothelial function.
  • Properties of cocoa on platelet function
  • A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, by Murphy KJ et al, confirmed the beneficial effect of dark chocolate consumption on platelet function.
  • Specifically, it showed a reduction in the aggregation and decrease in platelet volume. These changes are suggested to be secondary to changes in two eicosanoids that mediate inflammatory processes.
  • Antioxidant activity and impact of polyphenols on blood lipid profile
  • The flavonoids, present in dark chocolate, help protect tissues from oxidative stress. Numerous clinical trials demonstrated that the consumption of 168 mg of chocolate per day decreases malondialdehyde concentrations and lactate dehydrogenase activity, resulting in an increase in the antioxidant capacity of plasma.
  • Malondialdehyde is a marker of lipoprotein oxidation; mainly low-density cholesterol or LDL.
  • Lactate dehydrogenase activity is a marker of plasma membrane integrity.
  • The consumption of dark chocolate has been associated with an increase in high-density cholesterol, also known as HDL or “good cholesterol”, which is responsible for mobilizing lipids from adipose tissue to the liver to be metabolized.
  • In turn, there is an inverse association between dark chocolate consumption and concentrations of total cholesterol and low-density cholesterol, also known as LDL or “bad cholesterol.” The latter are associated with the development of atherosclerotic disease and its future outcome in cardiovascular disease.

Neuroprotection after chocolate consumption

  • At the level of the central nervous system, it has been discovered that the consumption of polyphenols from dark chocolate rich in cocoa reduces alterations in the functionality of neurons. Therefore, the incidence of dementia and memory loss is reduced.
  • The properties of cocoa and dark chocolate reduce fatigue and protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Likewise, polyphenols reduce inflammation (produced by the transcription factor kappa beta, NFKB) that promotes the production of β-amyloid cells, involved in the development of Azlheimer's disease.
  • Another relevant characteristic is that they increase blood flow in the brain, which reduces the risk of developing a cerebrovascular accident or stroke. Finally, consuming dark chocolate produces endorphins in the hypothalamus, which improves mood, intellectual activity and reduces mental fatigue.

Properties of cocoa and chocolate: A measure within the nutritional treatment for obesity?

  • Obesity, by its definition according to the World Health Organization, is known as a disorder characterized by excess adipose tissue in the body that is harmful to health and is correlated with the development of chronic degenerative diseases.
  • As a consequence of the high prevalence of this disease, multiple measures have been studied for its treatment, among them, the properties of cocoa that allow regulating certain metabolic alterations.
  • A study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research showed that: Chocolate polyphenols activate the transcription factor PPAR-γ, which increases the production of adiponetctin and the transport of glucose (blood sugar) mediated by GLUT 4.
  • These events were associated with a decrease in body fat production and induced its destruction. In turn, insulin resistance improved.

Importance of the quality of chocolate for its therapeutic use

  • Finally, it is important to know that the processing of beans can produce alterations in the properties of cocoa.
  • According to a study published in the American Society for Nutritional Sciences, there is evidence that shows that the combination of cocoa with milk, or when exposed to high temperature, decreases the beneficial effect as a consequence of the loss of polyphenols.
  • For this reason, to obtain the properties of this food at an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, cardioprotective and metabolic profile mediator level, it is necessary to consume its bitter version.
  • In short, it is recommended to consume chocolates with a percentage of 70% or higher of cocoa, and preferably without the presence of milk and sugar.

Know the benefits of cocoa.


  • It provides you with 50% fat in the form of butter, between 11 and 12% protein, 7 and 8% starch, and the rest is made up of water, fiber, essential organic acids and in smaller quantities it has sugar, theobromine, caffeine, and 300 more substances. The highest magnesium content is found mainly in its raw form.


  • Cocoa is as rich in antioxidants as green tea and red wine.


  • Thanks to theobromine, which stimulates the central nervous system, and is milder than caffeine, cocoa helps you reduce your stress levels with a longer effect.


  • Consuming dark chocolate with 60 or 70% cocoa can reduce bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL).


  • Anandamide works as a natural mood regulator. It is used in patients undergoing treatment for depression, to manage aspects of mood.


  • Thanks to its antioxidants, cocoa is associated with the prevention of pathologies due to oxidative stress, such as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, liver, gastric, colon, and diabetes.


  • The theobromine contained in cocoa takes care of the kidneys, being a relative of caffeine, it increases urine production.


  • Cocoa is a super ingredient in topical products, it has hydration benefits for hair and the reduction of cellulite.


  • Cocoa is a great antioxidant for the skin, thanks to its flavonoids that protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.


  • The chemicals in cocoa, such as phenylethylamine and serotonin, are neurotransmitters responsible for stimulating endorphins in the brain responsible for feelings of well-being, pleasure, euphoria and excitement.


  • According to a study done in New York, it has been shown that a cup of soluble cocoa is the drink that contains the highest concentration of antioxidants.


  • 1 to 2 ounces, 2 to 3 times a week, either as a drink with cocoa powder or dark chocolate.

Share our posts, also like our Facebook, follow us to stay up to date with information like this.


"Because prevention is better than cure"

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.