We all love drinking a warm cup of cocoa, but is it good for you?
Cocoa contains chemicals called polyphenols, which are antioxidants also found in fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and improve blood cholesterol and glucose levels.
Cocoa is abundant in flavanols, which are also antioxidants and have an anti-inflammatory effect on our cells.
A recent study by the American Heart Association in patients with peripheral arterial disease found that patients who drank cocoa daily had improved blood flow to their legs with improved muscle function. The patients who drank cocoa were able to walk further in a 6-minute walking test compared to patients who did not drink cocoa.
Cocoa also increases blood flow to the brain, improving brain function and reducing risk of neurodegenerative disease.
Another study found that patients who drank cocoa regularly had a small but significant reduction in their blood pressure.
Cocoa also reduces “bad” LDL cholesterol. Cocoa consumption is linked to lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and death.