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Chocolate and Milk May Help You Lose Weight

Cocoa is probably one of the oldest and most well-known of all chocolate products. It has been used for many thousands of years by the people of South America as a delicious hot chocolate beverage. This tasty beverage has since then spread to most of North America, to the delight of many chocolate lovers. Cocoa was originally grown in the warmer climates of the Amazon region, and in Central and South America.

Cocoa sometimes called cocoa powder, is a fine powder made by roasting dry, roasted, and ground husks of the cocoa tree. About 60-65% of cocoa content is made up of cocoa butter, with the remainder being the fine cocoa powder that you can notice in various chocolate beverages. The Latin name for cocoa beans is Theobroma cacao, which means food of the gods. These days, the benefits of this fine chocolate powder are being recognized across the world. For example, in Colombia and the Dominican Republic, cocoa beans are used to produce medicines.

In addition to its many health benefits, it has recently become trendy to use cocoa powder in baking and chocolate recipes. You may have already tried some of these recipes with success. Here, we review some of the many health benefits of unsweetened cocoa powder:

Chocolate contains healthy fats and antioxidants. Unsweetened dark chocolate is particularly beneficial because of its high concentration of flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidants found in the body and help protect the body from harm and damage caused by free radicals, oxygen radicals, and other toxins.

A chocolate drink after meals may aid in weight loss because it contains substances that stimulate the body's metabolism. Unsweetened cocoa powder may also have a similar effect, although the digestion process slows down as the sugar goes into the system. This delayed gastric emptying produces an initial feeling of fullness that may aid weight loss.

Some studies show that cocoa powder may aid in reducing cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is considered to be a risk factor for heart disease. Theobromine, a flavonoid present in cocoa powder, may reduce cholesterol absorption and may prevent the formation of gallstones. Gallstones form when cholesterol drops into bile ducts. Other studies also suggest that these extracts may reduce blood pressure and help increase endurance.

Although most of us think of chocolate as being mild and not very stimulating, the health benefits of cacao powder extend beyond those of milk or dark chocolate. Consuming this powder on a regular basis may help prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and some types of cancer. It contains antioxidants, which fight free radicals that cause cellular damage. Antioxidants also reduce the symptoms of arthritis and some forms of cancer.

So while unsweetened powder may reduce calories and provide some of the health benefits of a traditional dessert, it provides more than mere sweetness. It provides several important nutrients that may benefit your overall health. For a delicious and healthy treat make the cocoa powder version of your favorite chocolate treat.

Another way to enjoy the many benefits of unsweetened cocoa powder is to make a hot chocolate, an alternative to the typical cappuccino. Hot cocoa can be used in any number of recipes including pies, cookies, hot cocoa k-cups and even smoothies. The ingredients for this classic drink are usually cocoa butter, sugar, milk, coffee and hot water. You may choose to substitute unsweetened cocoa powder for the milk, but you can always use the valuable protein, calcium, and fiber in milk as well as the antioxidant found in cacao beans.

There is an unsweetened version of chocolate that comes in bottles of dark chocolate. This dark liquor, called chocolate liquor, is derived from either cacao beans or cacao fruit. It is often flavored with vanilla, honey and even licorice. If you prefer a harder, less sweet beverage, consider going with a chocolate liquor that is made entirely from cacao beans. Unsweetened cocoa may taste more like chocolate, but it is not as sweet and will not have the number of nutrients found in pure chocolate.

Unsweetened cocoa powder may aid in managing cholesterol levels. This is due to the fact that it contains high amounts of fiber and a form of monounsaturated fat. High fiber contents are helpful in preventing constipation and aiding in regularity. In addition, monounsaturated fats have been linked to lowering bad cholesterol levels. A 2021 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that theobromine, which is found in chocolate, may aid in managing cholesterol levels in those with hypercholesterolemia. A higher number of antioxidants may also be helpful in reducing bad cholesterol.

Cocoa has been shown to have positive health benefits as well. It has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke and has been indicated as an aid in combating depression. Although it is not known how it works or why milk and chocolate do contain some of the same antioxidants. Other foods and beverages are also rich in antioxidants, including orange juice and strawberries, so chocolate and milk may not need to be replaced with another food item. Instead, combine the two for maximum benefits.

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