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Coo-Coo for Cocoa!

Coo-Coo for Cocoa!

Everyone was born with a craving for chocolate. And if you happen to be one of those people who don’t like chocolate maybe you'll reconsider your preference when you learn about its benefits. Chocolate has lots of great benefits, such as solving almost any problem that ever existed… and having lots of health benefits including lowering LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and being put at risk for cardiovascular disease. Now, we're not talking about chocolate bars and chocolate shakes, this is REAL cocoa we’re talking about, like the kind of cocoa found in REVV. 

So now that you’re wondering “what makes cocoa so good for us?” Well the answer is simple: flavonoids. For those of you who don’t know what a flavonoid is, it’s just a fancy word for plants that have antioxidant effects on the body. Why don't we just call them “plants that have antioxidant effects on the body?" Science likes to make things way more complicated for us. Flavonoids are essential to help lower the risk for heart disease, cancer, and bad cholesterol because they modify how your body reacts to free radicals. Not having flavonoids in your system is the equivalent of trying to hit a grand slam with no bat- its impossible and probably one of the more stupid things you could do.

I’m just going to jump right into the good stuff, no need to keep you on your toes. Norman Hollenberg, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, found that a compound in cocoa called epicatechin contains such huge striking health benefits that it may even challenge penicillin and anesthesia. Hollenberg has been studying cocoa for years and has found that strokes, heart failure, cancer, and diabetes are all lowered by 10% for people that incorporate pure cocoa into their diet. These findings support why the professor thinks that epicatechin should be considered a vitamin. I knew chocolate was good, but I didn’t know it was THAT good.

Flavonol-rich cocoa cardiovascular effects are associated with the elevation of nitric oxide that continuously circulates through your body. This is beneficial for your health because it enhances vasodilatation, thus enhancing blood circulation through the heart and the rest of the body. A 2006 study even went as far to say that pure cocoa appears to reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health more than green tea and red wine! “The results of this study provide direct proof that epicatechin is, at least in part, responsible for the beneficial vascular effects that are observed after consumption of certain flavonol-rich cocoas,” claims Hagen Scroeter, co-author of the study's paper. Do I have your attention yet? 

So as you grow up from your baby-self to an adult-self you may develop or know someone who may develop something called diabetes. Well a positive way to look at things is by reminding yourself that cocoa can actually help to manage diabetes. WHAT?! That’s not what you expected was it? Who could have thought chocolate could help diabetics? Well, researchers at Harvard had a hunch and found that consumption of cocoa actually decreased blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels, as well as blood vessel health. Another major discovery in this 2011 study was that diabetics who added pure flavonoid-rich cocoa to their care plans had more regular blood sugar levels and significantly lower insulin resistance than those who did not add cocas to their diets.

Now you know why adding cocoa to your everyday diet can benefit you in more ways than one- it may even be considered a one a day vitamin! Okay, well maybe not cocoa, but the "good stuff" in it. Who knows, maybe in the future cocoa will have it’s own spot on the food pyramid!