Benefits of cocoa: fruit is good for the heart and improves mood – Revista Globo Rural

Brazil is the fifth largest consumer of chocolate of the world and the cocoa, its main ingredient, offers benefits to the body. Because it is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, it can prevent cardiovascular problems. Regular consumption, in the form of powder or nibs (small grains), helps control blood pressure, regulate the bowels and improve mood.

In addition to keeping the body healthy after being ingested, the fruit plays an important role in preserving the environment, as it is a source of income for agriculture in the region. amazon, preventing deforestation. Proof of this is that, in Brazil, the sector is expanding. According to information released by the National Association of Cocoa Processing Industries (AIPC), cocoa grinding grew 19.26% compared to last year. The expectation is that in five years the country will be sustainable in the production of cocoa and supply the entire national market.

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Cocoa (Photo: Ana Lee)

(Photo: Ana Lee)

Grown at home or in large fields, the characteristics of cocoa can make a difference both for health and for Brazilian agribusiness.

1- Good for the heart

Cocoa is a good ally to prevent cardiovascular problems and keep your heart healthy. Its high concentration of antioxidant compounds known as phenolic compounds (flavonoids) added to oleic acid, act to combat the excessive production of free radicals in the body and protect blood vessels from possible damage.

Clinical and oncological nutritionist Ana Paula Coutinho adds that the consumption of the fruit helps to promote an anti-platelet, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action in the body and, therefore, prevents cardiac events promoted by clogging of the arteries and thrombolytics.

“Because of the bioavailability of flavonoids, it is important to emphasize the difference between consuming chocolate that has milk, fat and sugar mixed together and cocoa in the form of powder or nibs. In cocoa, the amount of flavonoids is higher”, he warns.

2- Prevents premature aging of the skin

Consumption of cocoa favors the elasticity and hydration of the skin leaving it with a more vibrant appearance. It also acts on the reduction of stains caused by sun exposure and helps to prevent the effects caused by premature aging of cells.

The bioactive compound present in the fruit promotes an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action that protects the skin from excessive oxidative stress. “By promoting vasodilation, it helps the arrival of nutrients that act in mechanisms that balance the production of important proteins for the skin”, he explains.

Cocoa - the handling of almonds (Photo: Ana Lee)

(Photo: Ana Lee)

3- Helps control blood pressure

Another benefit of cocoa is that it helps in controlling blood pressure. This is because the flavonoids present in the fruit promote vasodilation by increasing the production of nitric oxide in the vascular endothelium, that is, in the layer of thin cells that lines the surface of vessels, arteries and veins.

“It also inhibits the production of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which in excess is one of the mechanisms responsible for increasing blood pressure”, he adds.

4- Regulates the gut

Cocoa is rich in flavonoids and catechins that help regulate intestinal flora. Therefore, regular consumption of the fruit is indicated for the intestine to function better.

The composition of these bioactives offers a probiotic action, which serves as an energy substrate, or food, for intestinal bacteria. “Thus, when consumed on a daily basis, they promote balance and diversity of the intestinal microbiota”, he recommends.

5- Helps in respiratory health

The composition of cocoa also has the presence of substances such as theophylline and xanthine. Together, they work as a bronchodilator, promoting relaxation of the bronchi, as well as facilitating airflow and fighting allergies and asthma.

Another benefit of the fruit is theobromine, which helps to stop coughing. The head of the Endocrinology service at Hospital São Vicente de Paulo (HSVP-RJ), Ana Cristina Belsito, explains that this substance is capable of suppressing the activity of the vagus nerve, responsible for causing coughing. “It’s as effective as codeine, but it doesn’t cause drowsiness,” she says.

cocoa_fruit (Photo: Alisson Fagundes/Ed. Globo)

(Photo: Alisson Fagundes/Ed. Globo)

6- Improves mood

Among the most well-known properties of cocoa is that it helps improve mood. This is because the combination of components such as theobromine, caffeine, phenylethylamine and tyramine help generate tryptophan, an essential amino acid used by the brain.

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When tryptophan is absorbed, it acts on the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is associated with the feeling of well-being and acts in the regulation of mood. In addition, being a source of magnesium, cocoa also helps fight depression, insomnia and anxiety.

7- Decreases inflammation in the body

The antioxidant action of cocoa reduces the possible cellular damage caused by free radicals and, consequently, reduces the chances of the development of inflammatory processes in the body.

Another point to note is that research indicates that consumption of the fruit can be recommended to reduce the amount of C-reactive protein in the blood. When this protein appears in a high dose, it indicates the presence of inflammation or infections.

Cocoa production in Brazil benefits the environment

In addition to the health benefits of cocoa, its production also helps protect the environment. The focus on sustainability in the cultivation of the fruit in the national territory can be a competitive differential in relation to other countries.

The executive director of AIPC, Paula Losi, explains that Brazilian cocoa is a high quality product and that it also helps protect nature, as it does not come from deforested areas.

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“In Pará, for example, cocoa preserves the area, as it is a plant native to the region. It is not a factor of preservation, but of recovery. In Bahia there is production in cabruca, also preserving forest areas. And in the new areas, cocoa production will help to recover the degraded area”, he analyzes.

The cocoa sector is expanding and it is expected that, in five years, the country will be able to supply the entire national market. For Paula Losi, it is possible that, in addition to investing in productivity and management, new projects will emerge taking into account social, environmental and economic issues.

“We believe that in five years we will become sustainable in the production of cocoa, and produce more to become an exporter again”, he says.

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She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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