Who doesn’t love a cup of hot cocoa to chill after a long day? For sure, it makes any day better.
Well, there´s a reason -in addition to its delicious flavor- why chocolate is so loved all around the world, and it has to do with its most important component: cocoa.
Cocoa is considered a superfood thanks to the benefits it offers to health. For instance, its flavonoids help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart; it is full of healthy nutrients like magnesium and iron and it is an incredible source of antioxidants. Likewise, cocoa also contains other polyphenols that have been demonstrated to have a positive effect on the mood of people, combating anxiety and depression.
Back in 2013, the Center for Human Psychopharmacology at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, examined the effects of dark chocolate with a high content of cocoa in healthy middle-aged adults. The study was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, showing impressive results in mood improvement and stress levels.
Even without clinical depression, we can always use a little mood boost, right? So now we have an excuse to consume regularly and enjoy without guilt of the delicious cocoa.
Healthy ways to enjoy cocoa
It is easy to include cocoa in our diet, and now we know it has lots of benefits. Here are some ideas to enjoy this superfood in a healthy and delicious way.
In smoothies: a tablespoon of cocoa powder or some raw cacao nibs are excellent to power up our morning smoothies. Bananas, berries and avocados are some of the fruits that best combine with cocoa.
With coffee drinks: for heavy coffee drinkers, cocoa powder is a fantastic addition. It creates a chocolatey kind of mocha, leaving out the added sugar.
As snack bites: for a healthy, antioxidant-rich snack, some cacao nibs, dried fruits and nuts tossed together are just great. Quick, easy and tasty!
In a vegan ice cream: frozen bananas create a creamy consistency very similar to ice cream. Combined it with cocoa powder makes a delicious, two-ingredient vegan ice cream.