If You Think Cocoa Is All About Indulgence, You Need To Read This
While hot chocolate continues to be a popular comfort food, studies are also exploring the possible health benefits of cocoa
A hot chocolate is a comfort drink for many of us. There is something about the flavour, just a sip can lift your spirits. But cocoa, the ‘food of Gods’, is not only rich in flavour, it has some health benefits too. Know more about this fine bean:
The Wonder Seed
Cocoa is obtained from what are commonly known as cocoa beans—these beans are actually seeds of the fruit of Theobroma cacao or the cocoa tree. Chocolate liquor is the paste made from fermented, dried, shelled, roasted and milled cocoa seeds. Cocoa powder, which is used in a lot of baked goods, is made by removing most of the fat (cocoa butter) from the liquor.
The Health Factor
Cocoa, be it as cocoa powder or as a chocolate, has always been considered an indulgence, to be had on a special occasion or to make something decadent. While eating a bar of chocolate every day won’t make you healthy, newer studies and research are now exploring the possible health benefits of cocoa.
Cocoa contains flavanols that may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. “Cocoa can protect nerves from injury and inflammation, protect the skin from oxidative damage from UV radiation in topical preparations, and have beneficial effects on satiety, cognitive function, and mood,” says a study published on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, US. Of course, over-consumption can have a detrimental effect.
A Versatile Ingredient
A favourite ingredient of home as well as professional bakers, cocoa is extremely versatile. Cocoa powder lends a distinct flavour to a baking recipe; mix it with oil and butter for that rich, dark chocolate cake. When buying cocoa powder, make sure it’s unsweetened so that you get a more rich and dark flavour.
Dark chocolate, on the other hand, makes your cake more moist and gooey. You can also use cocoa powder to make cake toppings, instant hot chocolate, chocolate sauce and mousse.