Cocoa has been consumed raw for centuries and it has been processed into several other foods like chocolate for decade as well. Cocoa provides a whole range of positive effects in the system and such include the enhancement of the brain’s functional capacities. The Aztecs of the old believe that cocoa is the food of the gods and it has been used as a divine food to relieve stress, fatigue and build the body’s resistance against common diseases. Ancient Mayans believed that one can go a whole day without food if he or she simply drinks a sufficient amount of local cocoa drink.
One of the ways through which cocoa benefits the brain and the entire body is by inducing pleasurable desires. Cocoa present in chocolate and some other foods can stimulate the release of endorphins which are natural hormones produced only in the brain. Endorphins controls sex drive, and mood elevation in the human body, the hormones promote a general sense of wellbeing among cocoa consumers. Serotonin is another hormone that is produced in the brain, cocoa components are capable of increasing the stimulation of these hormones through the production of tryptophan- an essential amino acid that enhances feelings of pleasure.
Cocoa contains chemicals that increase blood supply to the brain. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids- chemical compounds believed to possess the ability to increase the dilation of the blood vessels ensuring that more oxygen are being carried through the blood vessels by the blood into the key areas of the brain. The brain performs better when it receives oxygenated blood constantly. Constant supply of flavonoids into the brain through cocoa foods will help deal with health complications such as fatigue and sleep deprivation. Cocoa enhances the general wellbeing of the body by boosting its immune system.
Phenylethylamine is one positive stimulant found in cocoa, this chemical agent increases the activities of neuron-transmitters in the body and making them to increase activities and heightened sensations- those looking for increase sexual satisfaction can consume appreciable amounts of cocoa or its products. Theobromine is another stimulant found in cocoa, it is however less powerful when compared to caffeine and it helps in promoting good mood and general wellbeing.
Process of beans and cocoa bran can affect the way chocolate works on the brain. The effects of polyphenol compounds on the brain are reduced significantly during heat processing of cocoa, polyphenols are needed in wholesome quantities to be able to make a significant positive impact on the brain , for this reason, cocoa must be processed lightly in order to make it achieve the most desirable impact in the body. Cocoa beans are the best natural sources of brain inducing chemicals, much better than other cocoa foods. Although cacao is higher in the antioxidants than the goji berries, it doesn’t mean it is better. Why? Just because consuming hundred grams of the goji berries is very beneficial while consuming 100grams of the raw cacao is much in a day just in one go, as well as benefits will turn in side effects. Cacao is just powerful on the central nervous system & with this much of cacao, content of the oxalic acid will interfere with the calcium retention. Still, consuming 40grams of the raw cacao at most or 50gram organic, sugar free and dark chocolate is beneficial & enjoyable.
Source – Xbrain