There is sweet irony in the fact that cocoa, once considered by some self-appointed health experts to be deleterious to health, has proven over time to be extraordinarily beneficial for health indeed.
1. Extremely High ORAC (antioxidant) Rating
The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture to measure the effectiveness of antioxidants to absorb free radicals that cause cell and tissue damage. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the level of antioxidants present in the food.
ORAC scores for the Top 10 Antioxidants Foods (per 100 grams)
1) Raw cacao powder* 95,500
2) Raw cacao nibs* 62,100
3) Roasted cocoa powder 26,000
4) Organic Goji Berries* 25,300
5) Acai Berries* 18,500
2. Supports Cognitive Function
For older people showing signs of cognitive impairment, doctors could one day prescribe a daily dose of chocolate. New research shows regular cocoa consumption in the elderly led to significantly better neuronal metabolic function and blood flow, and subsequently improved cognition. The coconut oil in NKD chocolate also contains a substantial serving of coconut oil. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), the primary type of fat found within coconut oil, have been found to boost cognitive performance in older adults suffering from memory disorders as serious as Alzheimer’s.
3. Increases Blood Flow and Supports Cardiovascular Health
The flavanols found in cocoa and dark chocolate are part of a larger group of compounds called flavonoids that occur naturally in plant foods—in this case, the cacao bean from which cocoa and chocolate are made. Flavanols are also found in red wine and tea. The flavanols in the cocoa bean, however, are a unique mixture of these phytonutrients. Scientists have found that cocoa flavanols positively affect the circulatory system and help maintain the flexibility of arteries.
Although cocoa contains a relatively high amount of caffeine and theobromine, both regarded as thermogenic agent that are believed to contribute to weight loss, its effect on weight extends beyond these 2 compounds.
Different studies have established the benefits of cocoa on lipid profile. The flavonoids in cocoa control the levels of cholesterol in the body. In one study done by a group of researchers from John Hopkins, 2 weeks of cocoa consumption was shown to increase HDL levels by 9% while lowering LDL levels by 6%.
Cacao contains the chemicals phenylethylamine (PEA) and anandamide. PEA is an adrenal-related chemical that we create naturally when we're excited. It also plays a role in feeling focused and alert because it causes your pulse rate to quicken, resulting in a similar feeling to when we are excited or fall in love!
Another 'bliss' chemical found in chocolate is the lipid anandamide. It's there in our brain when we feel great. Anandamide is also called "chocolate amphetamine" as it causes changes in blood pressure and blood-sugar levels, leading to feelings of excitement and alertness.
Cacao contains over 300 compounds including: protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium. Magnesium helps to build strong bones and is a muscle relaxant associated with feelings of calmness. Cacao is also high in sulfur, which helps form strong nails and hair.
7. Supports Womens Health and Menstrual Cycle
Menstrual cramps are a widespread problem that many women face on a monthly basis. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, increasing magnesium is one effective way of treating menstrual cramps, as well as other types of menstrual-related pain -- including headaches and nausea. Good thing chocolate is so high in magnesium content - a whopping 449mg per 100 grams!
8. Supports Sexual Health and Can Increase Libido
We now know that chocolate promotes blood circulation, which has it's obvious benefits in the bed room. We now also know it contains a stimulating chemical known as phenylethlamine, that stimulates the sense of excitement and well being. The Journal of Sexual Medicine published a study that found, women who enjoyed a piece of chocolate every day had a more active sex life than those who didn’t. Chocolate dipped strawberries or body parts, either way it is pretty damn sexy.
9. Healthy Alternative Sugar
All of NKD chocolate is made with pure canadian maple syrup! We do not use any processed alternatives such as brown rice syrup, agave nectar, or fructose glucose or even traditional white sugar.
The sweetener in our chocolate comes directly from a plant’s sap. Did you know that pure maple syrup has the same beneficial classes of antioxidant compounds found in berries, tomatoes, tea, red wine, whole wheat and flax seed? Maple syrup features over 54 antioxidants that can help delay or prevent diseases caused by free radicals, such as cancer or diabetes. In addition, maple syrup features high levels of zinc and manganese, keeping the heart healthy and boosting the immune system.