As winter sets in, many of us have tried and true family remedies to keep the dark and cold at bay. Many of these remedies involve a steamy cup of hot chocolate. You may be surprised to know that the treat we remember enjoying after a day of playing in the snow actually has health benefits. So don’t disregard hot chocolate as just for kids; read on to find out the health benefits of cocoa.
So what is the science behind all these health benefits? Cocoa is full of polyphenols and flavanols. Polyphenols are antioxidants often found in fruits, vegetables, wine, tea, and chocolate. Studies link polyphenols to reductions in inflammation, better blood flow, lowered blood pressure, improved cholesterol, and properly regulating blood sugar levels. Flavanols can improve nitric oxide levels in the blood. Higher nitric oxide levels lead to better blood vessel function and lower blood pressure. A small amount of chocolate taken daily could actually help with heart and blood issues. Two Swedish studies (here and here) found that chocolate intake of between 19 – 30 grams per day lowered the risk of heart failure and stroke.
Flavanols can also help with brain function. They have been found to improve the biochemical pathways that produce neurons and critical molecules that aid the brain in its work One two-week study found that older adults given a high-flavanol cocoa with their diet had the blood flow to the brain increased by 8% after just one week and by 10% after two.
We all know that a cup of cocoa makes us feel good, but scientists are finding that cocoa acts as a natural mood stabilizer, releasing serotonin due to the caffeine content of the chocolate combined with the delight in the eating. One study found that chocolate consumption reduced stress in pregnant women and improved mood in their babies.
It may seem counterintuitive, but chocolate may actually help in weight loss. Cocoa may help people to regulate their energy, reduce appetite, and increase a feeling of fullness that might help to reduce overall eating. A population study found that people who consumed chocolate more regularly had a lower BMI then those who abstained, despite chocolate adding more calories and fat to their diet. A separate weight loss study found that those using a low-carbohydrate diet lost weight faster when adding up to 42 grams of cocoa per day.
There is even new research that is finding that the antioxidants in cocoa may help people to ward off cancer. So, it turns out we may have been right as children, a hot cup of cocoa may be just the thing to keep more than just the cold at bay.
You already know Coffee Mill offers a huge selection of coffees for your office. But we also have a great variety of teas, soup, sodas, break room supplies, and rich, dark cocoa. Call Coffee Mill today to give your employees a bit of childhood nostalgia along with some great health benefits by providing cocoa in your break room!