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What Are The Health Benefits Cocoa Bean (Theobroma cacao)?

JEROME MICHAEL EBRUPHIYO Tuesday, September 21, 2021 Science and Nature

 
This post will provide information on "What are the health benefits of cocoa bean (Theobroma cacao)?" as well as provide answers to questions like: Where did cocoa originally come from? How was cocoa first used? Why is cocoa important in history? Why are cocoa beans bad for you? Is it OK to eat cacao everyday? What are the two health benefits of cocoa beans? Is cocoa beans a Superfood? What is cacao history? What does cocoa do to your body? Why are cocoa beans bad for you? Can cacao cause diarrhea? Are cocoa beans toxic?

History of Cocoa Bean (Theobroma cacao)

The cacao tree is native to Mexico. It was first domesticated 5,300 years ago, in equatorial South America, before being domesticated in Central America by the Olmecs (Mexico). More than 4,000 years ago, it was consumed by pre-Hispanic cultures along the Yucatán, including the Maya, and as far back as Olmeca civilization in spiritual ceremonies. It also grows in the foothills of the Andes in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America, in Colombia and Venezuela. Wild cacao still grows there. Its range may have been larger in the past; evidence of its wild range may be obscured by cultivation of the tree in these areas since long before the Spanish arrived. As of November 2018, evidence suggests that cacao was first domesticated in equatorial South America, before being domesticated in Central America roughly 1,500 years later. Artifacts found at Santa-Ana-La Florida, in Ecuador, indicate that the Mayo-Chinchipe people were cultivating cacao as long as 5,300 years ago. Chemical analysis of residue extracted from pottery excavated at an archaeological site at Puerto Escondido, in Honduras, indicates that cocoa products were first consumed there sometime between 1500 and 1400 BC. Evidence also indicates that, long before the flavor of the cacao seed (or bean) became popular, the sweet pulp of the chocolate fruit, used in making a fermented (5.34% alcohol) beverage, first drew attention to the plant in the Americas. The cocoa bean was a common currency throughout Mesoamerica before the Spanish conquest. Cacao trees grow in a limited geographical zone, of about 20° to the north and south of the Equator. Nearly 70% of the world crop today is grown in West Africa. The cacao plant was first given its botanical name by Swedish natural scientist Carl Linnaeus in his original classification of the plant kingdom, where he called it Theobroma ("food of the gods") cacao. Cocoa was an important commodity in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. A Spanish soldier who was part of the conquest of Mexico by Hernán Cortés tells that when Moctezuma II, emperor of the Aztecs, dined, he took no other beverage than chocolate, served in a golden goblet. Flavored with vanilla or other spices, his chocolate was whipped into a froth that dissolved in the mouth. No fewer than 60 portions each day reportedly may have been consumed by Moctezuma II, and 2,000 more by the nobles of his court. Chocolate was introduced to Europe by the Spaniards, and became a popular beverage by the mid-17th century. Spaniards also introduced the cacao tree into the West Indies and the Philippines. It was also introduced into the rest of Asia, South Asia and into West Africa by Europeans. In the Gold Coast, modern Ghana, cacao was introduced by a Ghanaian, Tetteh Quarshie.

Description of Cocoa Bean (Theobroma cacao)

The cocoa bean or simply cocoa (/'ko?.ko?/), which is also called the cacao bean or cacao (/k?'ka?/), is the dried and fully fermented seed of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids (a mixture of nonfat substances) and cocoa butter (the fat) can be extracted. Cocoa beans are the basis of chocolate, and Mesoamerican foods including tejate, an indigenous Mexican drink that also includes maize. The word "cocoa" comes from the Spanish word cacao, which is derived from the Nahuatl word cacahuatl. The Nahuatl word, in turn, ultimately derives from the reconstructed Proto Mije-Sokean word kakawa.

Health Benefits of Cocoa Bean (Theobroma cacao)

  • Cocoa is rich in polyphenols, which have significant health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved cholesterol levels
  • Studies reveal that cocoa is rich in flavanols, which lower blood pressure by improving nitric oxide levels and blood vessel function
  • Eating up to one serving of chocolate per day may reduce your risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke
  • They may have a role in preventing age-related brain degeneration, such as in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cocoa may exert some positive effects on mood and symptoms of depression by reducing stress levels and improving calmness, contentment and overall psychological well-being
  • Cocoa and dark chocolate may reduce your risk of diabetes and maintain healthy blood sugar levels
  • Cocoa products are associated with a lower weight, and the addition of cocoa to your diet may help achieve faster weight loss
  • The flavanols in cocoa have been shown to have promising anti-cancer properties
  • Cocoa extract has demonstrated some anti-asthmatic properties
  • It also promotes healthy skin by protecting it from sunlight and improving circulation, the skin surface and hydration
  • Cocoa can promote healthy teeth by fighting bacteria that cause cavities

Side Effects of Cocoa Bean (Theobroma cacao)

But keep in mind that cocoa contains caffeine and related chemicals. Eating large amounts might cause caffeine-related side effects such as nervousness, increased urination, sleeplessness, and a fast heartbeat. Cocoa can cause allergic skin reactions, constipation, and might trigger migraine headaches.

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