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Tamarind

15 Benefits of Tamarind Seeds For Skin, Health & Knee Pain


The use of Tamarind can be traced to early civilizations, both as a medicinal herb and as a cooking spice.

Tamarind is a sweet and sour tasting Indian dish typically taken by people in rural India. It can be baked into tasty snacks. This fruit comes from the Tamarindus indica Tree. It is predominantly eaten during the summer dry season. The tamarind fruits and seeds can be found within each pod. They are sticky and have a tangy flavour. If you try cooking with them then similar to rice, they make a hearty meal and a little can go a long way.

 

 

This fruit is a good store of a number of helpful elements including potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, magnesium, proteins and calcium. Tamarind seeds are renowned for their importance to health.

If you want to know some of the benefits of tamarind seeds then check out this video here -​

Let’s look at the use and benefits of tamarind

  1.  Relieve Your Knee Pain With Tamarind Seeds

A number of factors can lead to inflamed knee joints like work, sport or just old age.

Within the tamarind seeds, the anti-inflammatory properties can help cure aches associated with knee pain. This treatment method has been used by Asian cultures for centuries.

Tamarind seeds can be used orally or topically to ease your pain.

To take it orally the seeds can be crushed into a smooth powder that can be added to drinks and meals. With the consumption of such drinks and meals, the tamarind plays the medicinal role of providing one with relief in joints and other aching pains.

 

To use Tamarind Seeds Topically -

Start by gathering the pods of Tamarind and extract the pod case to reveal the seeds of the plant. Then keep the bare seeds in water for about two and half hours, and proceed to blend the seeds into a slimy paste form. Put a tablespoon of turmeric powder and some salt into the paste and heat the mixture to a nice simmering heat until the paste gets thicker.

To use the product simply let the mixture cool, then take some of the paste and rub it on the area you feel the pain. Give it some time, and it will magically heal. Eventually you should be able to walk more freely without any pain.

Tamarind powder can be purchased here and Tamarind Paste can be ppurchased here.

  1. Tamarind Improves the Liver, Digestive system, and controls Constipation

When Tamarind seeds are made into a flavoured drink or juice, it can help smoothen the stomach lining and pathways and can ease indigestion. Therefore, it’s a great remedy for digestive issues.

The juice also improves the synthesis of bile in the liver. Whilst the juice is used mostly as an appetizer, it is also fortified with nutritious materials that inhibit cholesterol. It really does help the body system and reduces inflammation and can relieve constipation.

 

  1. Tamarind for the heart

With its significant potassium content, Tamarind seeds are well equipped to combat cardiac problems like heart issues, irregular blood pressure, and hypertension. Its high potassium makeup is particularly useful against high blood pressure.

It’s also worth noting flavonoids that are within Tamarind can raise the good cholesterol (HDL) and lower the bad cholesterol (LDL). This leads to a lowering the accumulation of triglycerides which is a type of fat that’s in our blood.

  1. Tamarind for skin health

Tamarind seeds are very beneficial for the skin and can act like an anti-aging formula. Tamarind seeds contain hyaluronic acid whose presence gives the extracts of the seed the ability to keep the skin fresh, moisturized, and reduce fine lines. Some users of the Tamarind take it to reduce the effects of aging on their skins as the extracts help dissolve wrinkles and maintain smooth skin.

 

The Tamarind seeds are even used in production of cosmetics as they are water soluble. They often are found in gels, masks and facial toners. These products can tone the skin and make it smooth and rash-free.

  1. Tamarind as a weapon against harmful microbes and bacteria

Certain bacteria can affect the skin, digestive and urinary systems. These can be rendered inactive by Tamarind. Some bacteria naturally have the ability to cause havoc within our bodies, but tamarind seeds due to their antibacterial benefits, can fight and destroy bacteria within the body.

  1. Tamarind eye drops

Infections or inflammation caused by conjunctivitis of the eyes can be treated using the Tamarind seed juice by putting in drops into the eyes. With its sugar structure and adhesive characteristics, it serves this function really well.

  1. Tamarind Treatment for Arthritis, Dysentery and Diarrhea

The leaves of the Tamarind tree and the pods contain substances that help treat diarrhea as well as dysentery.

The seed is also an indispensable treatment for individuals who are managing arthritis problems. The pain they feel in their bones and joints can be controlled with half teaspoon of the blended extract of the plant morning and evening.

See the product Natural Garcinia to check out a natural supplement which encompasses many health benefits.

  1. It contains antioxidants that control Cancer

Tamarind extracts have the ability to treat and help control cancer, particular that of the kidney, largely because it contains antioxidants. Studies have also lead research into how tamarind can be used to treat colon cancer. Tartaric acid within tamarind acts as an antioxidant that protects your body system from harmful free radicals, which overtime can increase your level of risk from cancer.

  1. Tamarind helps to lower blood sugar levels

We all know the consequence of high sugar levels—diabetes! But eating Tamarind regularly as part of your  diet will help blood sugar spikes. Equipped with the alpha-amylase properties, it brings the sugar levels to a more healthy level and keeps maintaining it.

  1. Rapid healing abilities after injuries

Tamarind extracts are used to treat injuries and induce a more rapid healing. The bark and leaves are particularly useful in treating wounds and cuts. Various studies have been undertaken on this, but one study in particular using tamarind seed extract healed wounds in about 10 days.

  1. Tamarind for Peptic Ulcers

Peptic Ulcers are sores or ulcers that form in the stomach and small intestines and can be extremely painful. This condition can be controlled using the extracts of the Tamarind seed which contain members of the organic polyphenol family. These provide a protective effect on the ulcers and also provide a preventative measure as well.

  1. Tamarind for Cough, Cold, and Asthma treatments

Infections that pertain to the tonsils, throat, and colds can be helped by Tamarind seeds when made into a juice mixed with cinnamon and ginger. You can gargle with this mixture which will provide a remedy and relief for mouth and throat problems.

It is also used as a booster for the immune system, and a medicine to treat asthma and other allergies.

  1. Tamarind extracts is an active agent in the formula for certain body creams

Tamarind has many great benefits for the skin as discussed earlier. The seeds of the plant have the ability to protect skin from the effects of the UV rays of the sun. Tamarind has always been traditionally used to smoothen out scars and reduce acne. The alpha hydroxyl acid in the tamarind can exfoliate and eliminate dead cells that no longer have life in them, and treat pimples and clogged pores.

You can find the best skin products using Tamarind by clicking here​

  1. Tamarind seeds are used to treat Teeth infections

After grinding roasted or fried seeds into powdery form, you can brush your teeth with it. This method has proven to heal gum and dental issues, and provide a preventative measure to stop cavities from forming.

The Tamarind seeds are also beneficial to smokers who have nicotine stains on their teeth. It’s also good for removing other stains such as soda, coffee and tea.

  1. Tamarind leaves keep the Liver in Good shape

A number of activities cause various degrees of harm to the liver including heavy drinking. One study found out that damage to the liver caused by excessive alcohol could be treated using tamarind leaves.

Side Effects of Tamarind seeds on the health of pregnant women

Tamarind seeds are suitable for expectant mothers, as the nutritious fiber content of the tamarind seeds is useful to the foetus and the mother. One cannot associate the seed to any scientifically proven ill consequence or side effects particularly to pregnant women.

So if you are suffering from digestion issues and constipation issues during pregnancy it’s definitely recommended. However it’s definitely worth checking with your doctor before taking any dietary supplements, as they can react with other medications.

Precautions when consuming Tamarind

For those on blood thinning or possibly aspirin medications, it is advised that such people avoid the consumption of the products of tamarind as it can affect this type of medication.

Also research has shown that taking drugs meant for controlling depression (antidepressants) alongside tamarind is not a great idea, as it could lead to serotonin toxicity.

Conclusions on Tamarind benefits

In order to reap plenty of benefits from this plant, you should simply prepare a paste or syrup and enjoy it with your meals. Or if you can enjoy the taste eat it from the pod naturally without any processing. Just add this

 

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Jackfruit - Seeds

9 Wonderful Benefits Of Jack fruit Seeds


We know that jack fruit is the largest tree fruit in the world, and it is replete with powerful nutrients. But what’s surprising is the fact that the seeds of the fruit possess benefits too. They boost your energy and keep your eyes healthy. And they do good to you in several other ways. Well, you need to keep reading to know more about the benefits of jack fruit seeds.

Table Of Contents

How Are Jackfruit Seeds Good For You? 
What Are The Benefits Of Jackfruit Seeds?
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Jackfruit Seeds?
How To Eat Jackfruit Seeds
Any Jackfruit Recipe To Try?

How Are Jack fruit Seeds Good For You?

The proteins and other vital micronutrients in the seeds are known to keep skin diseases at bay. And the iron the seeds contain boosts blood health and even treats anemia – which is one major concern, especially for women.

The seeds, which taste like potatoes when boiled, are also good for the eyes. But we are not going to tell everything here. There’s more to know as you keep going. So, just read on.

What Are The Benefits Of Jack fruit Seeds?

  1. Jack fruit Seeds Combat Anemia

The seeds are rich in iron, which is an important component of hemoglobin. Adequate iron levels can treat anemia and prevent several blood disorders. Iron combats weakness as well, which is another bothersome symptom of anemia.

Iron also increases the production of red blood cells, which, in turn, boost immunity and keep diseases at bay.

  1. Improve Digestive Health

Traditional medicine suggests that powdered jack fruit seeds can treat constipation and other digestive issues. The seeds are also rich sources of dietary fiber, which makes them all the more important for digestive health.

Some sources say that jack fruit seeds can also be used to treat diarrhea. However, we need more research on this. Hence, talk to your doctor before using the seeds as a digestive aid.

  1. Boost Vision

The seeds contain vitamin A, a nutrient known to boost vision health. Deficiency of vitamin A can cause night blindness. The seeds might also prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

  1. Might Reduce Risk Of Blood Clots

Though we need more research on this, according to some sources, the manganese in jack fruit seeds can regularize blood clotting.

  1. Enhance Sexual Pleasure

Certain sources state that the iron in the seeds can stimulate sexual pleasure. In fact, jack fruit seeds have been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat sexual disorders. The seeds can be roasted like chestnut and are considered an aphrodisiac by some experts.

  1. Jack fruit Seeds Help Build Muscles

The proteins in the seeds can help in building muscles. But we don’t know if they can be a replacement for your regular protein sources. You can, however, supplement your protein intake by adding jack fruit seeds to your diet.

  1. Fight Wrinkles

The antioxidants in jack fruit can fight the free radicals that cause premature aging, thereby reducing wrinkles. You need to grind a jack fruit seed in cold milk until you get a paste. Apply this paste to your face regularly – once or twice a day.

  1. Make Your Skin Glow

You can soak the seeds in some milk and honey for this purpose. Grind the ingredients until you get a paste. Apply it evenly to your face. Leave it on and allow the paste to dry completely. Wash off with lukewarm water.

  1. Enhance Hair Growth

This is where the vitamin A comes into the picture, again. It prevents brittle hair. The rich proteins in the seeds also promote hair health.

The iron in the seeds enhances blood circulation to the scalp, and this is another way they contribute to healthy hair. More interestingly, the seeds also help ease mental stress – and this can curb hair fall as stress is another cause of weak hair.

We have seen the benefits of jack fruit seeds. But as hard as it might seem to believe, they contain some essential nutrients we have been simply ignoring all along. And that is where we get to now.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Jack fruit Seeds?

A 100-gram serving of jack fruit seeds (or 3.5 ounces) offers about 185 calories. It also contains 7 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbs, and 1.5 grams of fiber. And jack fruit seeds contain less than 1 gram of fat.

The seeds are also good sources of thiamine and riboflavin. They also contain trace amounts of zinc, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. Other important nutrients in the seeds include phytochemicals, like saponins.

The nutritional profile is pretty much the same, irrespective of the seeds being boiled or roasted.

All of this gets us to one question – how can you eat jack fruit seeds?

How To Eat Jack fruit Seeds

Or how to cook jack fruit seeds – to put it in a better way. There are three ways you can do it:

Boiling

  • Cover the jack fruit seeds with water in a large pot. Ensure there is an inch of water above the seeds.
  • Bring the water and seeds to a boil, and then reduce to a rolling simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Drain the pot and spread the seeds on a baking sheet to cool. Peel the outer white layer, and you can enjoy the seeds.

Roasting In The Oven

  • Preheat the oven to 400o F. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes and let them cool.
  • Once they are cool enough to touch, peel off the outer white layer.

Roasting On The Pan

  • Add the seeds to a dry cast iron skillet.
  • Roast them over medium-high heat and shake the pan occasionally. Do this until the skin is blistered or cracked.
  • Let them cool and peel off the outer white layer.

There is another cool way to consume jack fruit seeds – use them in a recipe.

Any Jack fruit Recipe To Try?

Yes. Try this roasted garlic jack fruit seed hummus recipe.

What You Need

  • 2 cups of jack fruit seeds and water (to boil)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 6 tablespoons of low-sodium broth
  • 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of organic raw tahini
  • Dehydrated celery powder and fresh black pepper, for taste
  • Paprika, for garnishing

Directions

  1. Rinse the jack fruit seeds and place them in a pot with water an inch above them. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, and then lower to a simmer. Cover.
  2. While the seeds boil, place the garlic on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Toss halfway through.
  3. Leave the seeds to cook for 30 minutes, post which you can drain and lay them in a flat layer to dry.
  4. Remove the skin once dry. You can peel off the other white skin.
  5. For the hummus, add the cooked peeled seeds to a food processor along with the other ingredients. Process until smooth.
  6. Garnish with paprika.

Caution: Ensure the jack fruit seeds are properly prepared as they might be poisonous. Don’t eat them raw (1).

Conclusion

We had avoided the seeds all along. But now is the time we start preserving them, and more importantly, putting them to good use.

 

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Dry Corn

13 Amazing Benefits Of Sweet Corn For Skin And Hair


To some people, a day isn’t complete without munching on a crunchy snack. Unfortunately, most snacks are high in calories and fat – almost devoid of ‘real’ nutrition. One snack that’s a favourite of crunchy snack lovers is corn. Are corn kernels healthy? What are the benefits of sweet corn?

What about sweet corn nutrition? Well, corn is packed with high nutrients which are useful for a human body in many ways. It ensures idyllic functioning of several internal systems such as cell generation and prevents constipation and various other digestive problems. It is a boon for diabetic people. This nutrient packed starchy snack is low in total fat and has no saturated fat, sodium or cholesterol. It is high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber.

Benefits Of Sweet Corn For Skin

Below listed are the various sweet corn benefits for skin!

  1. Delays Aging Process

If you want to remain young and maintain youthful looks, then you definitely have to consume sweet corn. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants useful in preventing the aging process.

  1. Enhances Skin Texture

With the regular massage of corn oil, there is a considerable enhancement in your skin texture. A host of essential minerals and vitamins, regular consumption of sweet corn ensures you have a radiant skin and good vision.

  1. Removes Facial Acne Scars

Owing to its high vitamin E content, a paste created with sweet corn can work wonders to remove facial acne scars.

Benefits Of Sweet Corn For Hair

Let’s look into some of the sweet corn benefits for your healthy hair.

  1. Enhances Blood Circulation In The Scalp

The corn oil enhances blood circulation in the scalp, thereby promoting the follicles to produce healthy and strong tresses.

  1. Strengthens Hair Strands

The vitamin C, lycopene content, and various other antioxidants present in sweet corn helps in strengthening the hair strands. It works effectively in dealing with hair loss.

Sweet Corn: Health Benefits

Check out here some of the best health benefits of sweet corn.

  1. Anemia

Corn contains a lot of vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid. The deficiency of these nutrients can cause anemia. So, eating sweet corn can prevent anemia (1).

 

  1. Lowers Cholesterol

Sweet corn contains soluble fiber as well, which turns into a gel-like substance in the blood stream. This gel, in turn, absorbs bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol). Sweet corn also contains carotenoids and bioflavonoids. These control cholesterol levels in the blood (2).

  1. Improves Vision

Sweet corn kernels contain beta carotene, which produces vitamin A that promotes better vision. The carotenoids also reduce macular degeneration (3), which impairs vision at the centre of the line of sight.

 

  1. Boosts Energy

Sweet corn is a starchy grain, which works as a storehouse of energy (4). It is higher in energy than most other veggies! So, athletes who want to eat carbohydrates to boost their performance can eat a cup of corn.

  1. Prevents Diabetes

The vitamin B present in sweet corn regulates protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism, and the phytochemicals present regulate the release of insulin. Sweet corn has a glycaemic index of 58, making it a super food for those who are diabetic (5). Together, these help in controlling diabetes. Similarly, phenolic phytochemicals present in sweet corn also control hypertension.

  1. Cardiovascular Health

Consuming food rich in omega 3 fatty acids reduces the risk of contracting heart ailments. Sweet corn contains oil, which has a very good fatty acid combination. As a result, it enables omega-3 fatty acids to remove harmful fatty acids (like LDL) and reduces the risk of heart attack. It also prevents atherosclerosis (deposition of cholesterol on the walls of arteries).

  1. Digestion

Sweet corn contains a lot of dietary fiber. The insoluble fibers help in digestion and also prevent constipation. Those with irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea will also find relief after eating sweet corn.

  1. During Pregnancy

Sweet corn contains a high concentration of folic acid, which is actually prescribed to women during pregnancy (6). So, sweet corn is a healthy food every pregnant woman should adopt. However, if you have swollen feet, consult your doctor before this diet change.

Sweet Corn: How To Select And Store

A good selection in sorting the corn will help reap excellent sweet corn health benefits along with beauty benefits. Here are some helpful tips for its right selection and storage:

Selection

  • When it comes to purchasing sweet corn, always look for straight, fuller ones having a slightly golden stick.
  • Never choose the corn with removed husk or the ones that have been in the sun for the whole day.
  • Also avoid choosing the corn with discoloured husks; yellowish husk indicates age or damage. So, always make sure to select the corn with green husk.

Storage

  • The best way to store sweet corn is to place it them a refrigerator without removing the husk.
  • You may also wrap the corn loosely in a dry plastic bag so as to keep it fresh for more than two days.

Sweet Corn Usage (Cooking And Eating)

Corn is among the few cereals that can be cooked and eaten in a variety of ways. You can consume sweet corn right out of the “maize ears” or use the corn kernels in gravy. It is used for dressing fried rice along with onion and chillies to make an amazing snack. Here are some helpful tips on usage of sweet corn:

Cooking

  • Grill corn with the husk left on. This will help retain the flavour.
  • Don’t put the corn in cold water right after boiling them. This will make your corns soggy.
  • While boiling the corn, make sure to add enough water so that the corn is completely dipped in it.
  • Don’t preserve the corn for long and also avoid over-baking it. Overcooking turns the corn ruby and firm. Three-five minutes are just enough for corn to cook.
  • Lastly, it is also advisable not to add salt in the corn while boiling as it will toughen the corn.

Eating

  • Boiled corn cob seasoned with pepper and salt is the most popular recipe. It is a healthy snack and is extremely delicious. Or, you may also consider grilling the corn instead of boiling it.
  • Corn kernels make an amazing, mouth-watering dressing of different soups, curries, and dishes. Moreover, they can also be added to salads for making them an extra healthy snack.

Hope you liked our post on benefits of sweet corn in detail. So try these tips in your delicious corn snacks for an unforgettable taste.

 

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Coffee
13 Health Benefits of Coffee, Based on Science
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Cocoa

18 Super Impressive Cocoa Benefits for Human Life

Health benefits of cocoa include relief from high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, constipationdiabetes, bronchial asthmacancerchronic fatigue syndrome, and various neurodegenerative diseases. It is beneficial for quick wound healing, skin care, and it helps to improve cardiovascular and brain health. It also helps in treating copper deficiency. It possesses mood-enhancing properties and exerts protective effects against neurotoxicity.

What is Cocoa?

Cocoa refers to the low-fat constituent of the finely ground cacao beans which are the fermented seeds of the cacao tree (Latin name: Theobroma cacao, which means “Food of the Gods”). These ground beans, known as cocoa liquor or cocoa mass, also contain cocoa butter, which is a non-dairy, naturally occurring fat present in cacao beans. About 50-60% of cocoa liquor consists of cocoa butter.

The cacao tree stands about 12-25 feet tall and grows naturally in tropical climates. The fruit of the cocoa tree is a pod full of sweet pulp enfolding a cluster of about 20-40 cacao seeds.

 

 

Nutrition Facts

Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened

 

Nutrient

Value

Water [g]

3

Energy [kcal]

228

Protein [g]

19.6

Total lipid (fat) [g]

13.7

Carbohydrate, by difference [g]

57.9

Fiber, total dietary [g]

37

Sugars, total [g]

1.75

Calcium, Ca [mg]

128

Iron, Fe [mg]

13.86

Magnesium, Mg [mg]

499

Phosphorus, P [mg]

734

Potassium, K [mg]

1524

Sodium, Na [mg]

21

Zinc, Zn [mg]

6.81

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]

0

Thiamin [mg]

0.08

Riboflavin [mg]

0.24

Niacin [mg]

2.19

Vitamin B-6 [mg]

0.12

Folate, DFE [µg]

32

Vitamin B-12 [µg]

0

Vitamin A, RAE [µg]

0

Vitamin A, IU [IU]

0

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]

0.1

Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]

0

Vitamin D [IU]

0

Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]

2.5

Fatty acids, total saturated [g]

8.07

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]

4.57

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]

0.44

Cholesterol [mg]

0

Caffeine [mg]

230

Sources include : USDA [1]

Nutritional Value

As per USDA, cocoa is rich in minerals such as potassiumphosphorusmagnesiumcalcium[1] It also contains vitaminslike thiamin, riboflavinniacin, folate, and vitamin B6, E, and K. It is also a good source of zinciron, and sodium while providing the body with energy, carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fibers. It contains 0 cholesterol.

In addition to this, it also contains caffeine content. It contains cocoa butter, which according to USDA contains vitamin Evitamin K, and fatty acids. [2] It is a mixture of monounsaturated fats like oleic acid and saturated fats, namely stearic acid and palmitic acid.

It is a lot more than just a guilty pleasure!

Health Benefits of Cocoa

Let’s look at some of the major health benefits of cocoa. [3]

Lowers High Blood Pressure

Dr. Dirk Taubert in this research has found that consuming cocoa-containing foods helps lower blood pressure levels. [4] Flavonoid-rich cocoa aids in lowering blood pressure and improving the elasticity of blood vessels. [5]Research shows positive changes in the systolic and diastolic blood pressure as a consequence of consuming cocoa-based products instead of black and green tea[6] These favorable changes are attributed to the presence of antioxidants in it that stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which helps keep blood vessels relaxed. Furthermore, this helps in maintaining a healthy circulatory system.

Antioxidant Capacity

A comparative research study published in 2003 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has made it evident that cocoa exhibits higher antioxidant activity than black tea, green tea, and red wine[7] Antioxidants help neutralize the oxygen-based free radicals that are present in the body. In addition to this, it is abundant in phenolic phytochemicals and possesses a high amount of flavonoids as well. Zinc, present in cocoa, helps protect you against oxidative stress, which is a major cause behind accelerated aging. [8]

 

Improves Brain Health

Cocoa contains a high amount of flavonoids like flavonol and research led by Dr. Norman K. Hollenberg has suggested that flavanol may aid in maintaining a healthy brain. [9] [10] These neuroprotective benefits could also have favourable effects on learning and memory functions. The findings have advocated that the consumption of cocoa-based products enhances the flow of blood to the brain and they have provided evidence of the therapeutic potential for curing vascular disorders. [11] [12]

Balances Cholesterol Levels

A 2004 study shows that cocoa has hypoglycaemic and hypocholesterolaemia effects on both glucose and cholesterol levels, respectively. [13] It helps reduce triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the body and gives a noteworthy rise to HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the body. [14]

Treats Diabetes

A research study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that consumption of cocoa powder is effective in improving insulin resistance and glucose metabolism[15] This, in turn, aids in regulating sugar levels in the body. The proanthocyanidins derived from it help in inhibiting the cataract formation occasionally induced by diabetes. [16]The intake [17] of this flavanol-rich bean also has therapeutic potential in improving the vascular function of diabetics on various medications

An investigative study has confirmed that it exerts protective antioxidant activity in the treatment of long-term diabetic complications such as diabetic nephrotoxicity. [18] Nephrotoxicity plays a key role in diabetes mellitus and it is the major cause of severe renal diseases. Free radicals aggravate these diabetic complications by promoting oxidative stress, leading to cell and tissue damage. The free radical scavenging activity of cacao powder has shown therapeutic effects in treating and preventing this sort of cellular injury.

Relieves Bronchial Asthma

Cacao beans contain xanthine and theophylline, which aid in relaxing bronchial spasms and opening constricted bronchial tubes. This facilitates an easy flow of air and is valuable in curing various allergies, including asthma and shortness of breath. Its consumption, therefore, helps in providing relief from bronchial asthma.

Research published in 2014 in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology suggests that unsweetened cocoa powder has anti-asthmatic properties as it contains theobromine. [19]

Speeds up Healing

Cocoa extracts have been trusted for their therapeutic and wound-healing properties in the manufacturing of natural medicinal products. [20] The extracts help in preventing the development of various kinds of infections in the body. If consumed along with the appropriate medication, it has also been considered helpful in eradicating Helicobacter pylori bacteria from the body. [21]

Weight Management

A study has shown the potential benefits of cocoa in preventing high-fat-diet-induced obesity. [22] Its intake helps in modulating lipid metabolism and reducing the synthesis and transport of fatty acids. It also improves thermogenesis, which is the mechanism of heat production in white adipose tissues and the liver.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids namely, procyanidin, catechin, and epicatechin, which have antioxidant properties and help in protecting the cells from damage while strengthening the heart[23] [26] [25] [24] It prevents the formation of fatal blood clots, which can lead to stroke or cardiac failure. The flavonoids possess anti-platelet aggregating effects and modulate primary hemostasis, which is the measure of time blood takes to clot. [27] [28]This ultimately helps prevent atherosclerosis and thrombosis.

Enhances Mood

Consuming cocoa powder has shown antidepressant-like effects on certain physiological processes. [29] Its flavonols help enhance the mood, fight depression, and promote cognitive activities during persistent mental exertion. The presence of the neurochemical phenyl ethylamine in it also helps in enhancing feelings of contentment and promoting aphrodisiac effects. [30]

Treats Constipation

Consumption of cocoa husk exerts therapeutic effects in treating chronic constipation and bowel function diseases. [31] According to a study done on pediatric patients, consumption of fiber-rich cocoa products resulted in faster colonic, rectal, and intestinal transit times. [31] Regular consumption of cocoa enhances bowel function. [32] This is because it helps reduce bowel movement time, increase the frequency of bowel movements, and softens consistency of stool without inducing any other side effects like gastrointestinal discomfort.

Prevents Cancer

Cocoa has demonstrated beneficial effects in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells without affecting the growth of normal healthy cells. [33] Studies have provided evidence regarding the chemo preventive and anti-proliferative qualities exerted by the flavonols and procyanidins present in it. [34] These healing effects have proven extremely valuable in the treatment of various types of cancer, including colon cancer and prostate cancer.

Treats Copper Deficiency

Cocoa extends its benefits to treating copper deficiency in patients on long-term enteral nutrition. [35] The bean is quite valuable in copper substitution therapy, which results in significant improvements in the haemoglobin level, leucocyte count, and copper content in such patients. Cocoa is considered valuable as a copper-rich component. [36] Thus, it could be added to the diet to maintain normal levels of copper as well as a remedy for treating copper deficiency in such conditions. It helps in preventing and treating anaemia, neutropenia, and leukopenia.

Reduces Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Cocoa powder has been shown to exert calming effects on people suffering from chronic fatigue. [37]Its attenuating effects are attributed to the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin, anandamide, and phenyl ethylamine in the brain. [38] These exert protective effects on the neuronal cells and helps in combating chronic fatigue syndrome.

Skin Care

Research findings suggest that the consumption of flavonol-rich cocoa helps in decreasing the effects of UV-induced erythema, and reducing skin roughness and scaling. [39] [40] It also aids in enhancing skin elasticity, hydration, and density. Epicatechin present in cacao aids in elevating the oxygen saturation of haemoglobin, stimulating the healthy flow of blood in the dermal tissues, and contributing to endogenous photo-protection. [41] [42] It is also used in the preparation of various skin care products.

Treats Neurodegenerative Disorders

The presence of epicatechin and catching in cocoa has shown beneficial effects in treating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. [43] [44] These phytochemicals have synergistic qualities, which aid in reducing the oxidative stress on the mind. [45] This helps in preventing neuronal cell damage and exerts a protective effect on the cellular membrane against cytotoxicity.

Prevents Magnesium Deficiency

Another benefit of cocoa products is their role in preventing the ill effects of a magnesium deficiency in the body. [46] The regular consumption of cocoa products may prove beneficial in preventing the adverse effects caused by a diet lacking in magnesium for an extended period of time. [47]

Other

In addition to cacao beans, the therapeutic utilization of cacao bark, butter, and flowers have also been valued since ancient times for treating various diseases like skin ailments, bowel malfunction, and wounds. [48] In order to obtain the benefits of cocoa, it is important to consume the correctly sourced cocoa. A small piece of dark, unsweetened or unprocessed chocolate may be considered to add some flavor and health to your diet. [49]

Cocoa: A Culinary Gift

Cocoa has been treasured worldwide for its usage in the manufacturing of chocolate and other sweet delicacies as follows:

  • Cacao beans are roasted, husked, ground and, depending on the desired product, sweetened and flavoured to produce chocolate.
  • Several types of chocolate are produced from cacao beans, including unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, milkchocolate, and white chocolate.
  • Cocoa butter is also used as a substitute for gelatineto enhance the flavour and aroma of food.
  • Cocoa butter melts easily providing a smooth and creamy taste to many preparations making them even more palatable. These benefits make cocoa butter a healthy, plant-based alternative to be included in recipes, rather than gelatine, which is derived from animal by-products.

Note: Commercially available chocolates and cocoa-products may not be rich in the original beneficial flavonols of cacao beans since they might get destroyed by over-processing.

Uses of Cocoa

  • Cocoa mulch is a by-product and is produced from the discarded shells of cacao beans. [50]Mulch is valuable in efforts to reduce weeds, regulate the temperature of the soil, prevent soil erosion, and increase its nutritive value.
  • Roasting cacao beans release their shells, which are further used to produce cocoa mulch. This is rich in naturally available macro-nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen, all of which are valuable for plant health.
  • Cacao beans have water retention capability too.

Side Effects

The major side effects of cocoa include:

Caffeine addiction

Cocoa is a source [51] of caffeine and excess intake of cocoa may cause the following:

  • Increased urination, sleeplessness, and irregular heartbeat
  • It can also aggravate the conditions of people already suffering from anxietydisorders or diarrhea
  • Excess caffeine during breastfeedingcan result in crankiness and abdominal discomfort in infants
  • It may also worsen the condition of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease

Note: Avoid use prior to surgeries to avoid any interference with blood sugar control.

Allergic reactions

Cocoa may cause allergic reactions like the following:

Drug interactions

  • It may interact with certain medications including Clozaril, dipyridamole, ergotamine, phenylpropanolamine, and theophylline, and influence their effects on the body.
  • In addition to this, cocoa might also interact with the drugs for asthma, depression, and diabetes.

Caffeine may influence the effects of certain medications prescribed before the diagnostic test associated with the heart. It is generally advised to avoid caffeine-rich beverages or foods such as cocoa before such cardiac examinations. Also, consult your doctor before adding a new type of food, especially one with so many unique compounds, into your diet.

Origin

Cocoa is native to the Amazon region and as the meaning suggests, it was historically considered a very important crop in Central and South America. In fact, its beans were so prized that the native tribes used them as a form of currency. [52] Today, it is produced across the world, with about forty percent of the harvesting done in Cote d’Ivoire, along with Indonesia, Ghana, Brazil, Nigeria, and Cameroon contributing to the overall production. Along with its well-established role in the manufacturing of chocolate, the healing and medicinal benefits of cocoa have been appreciated since the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations were ruling. [53]

So, enjoy some chocolates! A guilt-free, heavenly, flavourful, and beneficial bite of cocoa is good for everyone!

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