Updated: Jul 28, 2020
The cocoa bean, also cacao bean or simply cocoa is the dried and fully fermented fatty seed of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids and cocoa butter (the fatty component of the bean) are extracted. They are the basis of chocolate. There are several types of chocolate according to the proportion of cocoa used in the particular formulation.
Dark chocolate has a much higher percentage of cacao and a lower amount of fat included in it. However there is no cause for concern about the fat in dark chocolate because it is stearic acid, a type of saturated fat that does not raise cholesterol levels. An easy way to get the health benefits chocolate has to offer is by enjoying an ounce or two of dark chocolate that is 70 percent cocoa several times a week.
Nutrient Profile: Raw cocoa beans contain flavanols mostly catechin, epicatechin, and procyanidin.
Health Benefits: The many antioxidants in dark chocolate infer many health benefits.
Coronary heart disease risk is lowered through a decrease in systolic BP, a decrease in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), improved blood vessel health and it may reduce the stickiness of platelets.
Diabetes health benefits by a decrease in fasting insulin levels, improvement in insulin resistance and borderline improvement in fasting glucose
Stroke risk is decreased.
Cancer risk is decreased.
Recipe Suggestion: This is a wonderfully tasty recipe for almond chocoloate chip cookies from Rebecca Katz’s The Healthy Mind Cookbook.