For hundreds of years, cocoa has been used in body rituals and medicine throughout the world. Cocoa originated in the Americas and spread to Europe over time. Cocoa is used to reduce weight gain, fatigue, stimulate the nervous system, and improve digestive function, among others.
Interestingly, Panama is well-known for its cocoa consumption, and its population has better health and lower incidence of heart disease.
Cocoa comes from beans produced by the Theobroma Cacao tree and contains many beneficial components:
- Polyphenols – plant-derived compounds that protect against bacteria and UV rays. The most abundant polyphenols in cocoa are flavonoids, catechins, and epicatechins.
- Theobromine – plant-derived compound that has many important functions in heart, respiratory, and mouth health.
- Minerals – the most abundant minerals are magnesium, copper, and iron, all of which are important in overall health and body function.