Cacao a superfood rainbow circle

Is cocoa powder healthy?Cacao a superfood rainbow circle

Besides Goji berries and Acai, cocoa powder is also increasingly called a superfood. But was not conventional cocoa powder otherwise considered unhealthy and fattening? I would like to take a differentiated look at the health significance of cocoa powder and make it particularly clear why not all cocoa powder is the same.

The production of cocoa powder

(Comparison of conventional and raw quality)

Step

Conventional

Raw food quality

The origin of the final product is the cocoa fruit, which is harvested and opened. In it are then the still white cocoa beans.

The still white cocoa beans from the opened cocoa fruit, are dried at ca. dried at 34 °C. Sorted out.

Selection of bad beans.

These are stored in certain wooden boxes at 45 to 50 degrees for up to a week.

The still white cocoa beans are stored in wooden boxes for up to one week at ca. 43° C lightly fermented.

Fermentation slowly gives the beans their brown color, the aroma develops and they are made more durable.

The beans are sun-dried for up to 2 weeks.

Shelf life, taste and color are enhanced.

Once the cocoa beans have reached the factory, they are also cleaned of any foreign bodies with the help of machines. In many factories, debacterization of cocoa beans is performed. Steam or hot air is used for this purpose.

Strong purity of the cocoa beans.

Roasting of the beans at high temperatures of up to 140 °C.

Shelf life, flavor and color.

The beans are broken by rolling, then peeled and then refined by an alkaline solution. This means that

certain substances contained in the bean are extracted, which influence the taste. Perfection of the aroma. Preparation for pressing.

The beans are ground. The resulting heat melts the escaping cacao butter and a cacao mass is formed. In order to better degrease the cocoa butter, alkali salts are added and then the preheated mass is put into large presses.

Extraction of the cocoa butter

The deoiled cocoa mass is now ground into powder.

In order to understand what kind of foodstuff cocoa powder is, one should first get an overview of its production and its differences.

1. The origin of the final product is the cocoa fruit, which is harvested and opened. This then contains the still white cocoa beans. These are stored in certain wooden boxes for up to a week at 45 to 50 degrees. In the case of raw cacao, care is taken here to ensure that the temperature is no more than 42 degrees. Through fermentation, the beans slowly acquire their brown color, the aroma unfolds and they are made more durable.

2. Next, the beans are sun-dried for up to 2 weeks, which increases their shelf life, flavor and color.

3. Once the cocoa beans have reached the factory, they are additionally cleaned of any foreign bodies with the help of machines.

4. In many factories a debacterization of the cocoa beans is then still made. Steam or hot air are used for this purpose. This is not absolutely necessary.

Cacao a superfood rainbow circle

A freshly opened cacao fruit.

5. In order to fully develop the shelf life, aroma and color, the beans are then roasted. This is done at high temperatures of up to 140 degrees. In the case of raw quality, temperatures also remain below 42 degrees.

6. Then the beans can be processed into cocoa powder by breaking them through rollers, then peeling them and then refining them through an alkali solution. This means that certain substances contained in the bean are extracted in order to perfect the taste and smell.

7. Now the beans are ground. The resulting heat melts the escaping cocoa butter and a cocoa mass is formed. In order to degrease the cocoa butter, alkali salts are added and then the preheated mass is put into large presses. With a fat content of at least 10% one speaks of strongly deoiled and starting from 20% of weakly deoiled cocoa. If the fat content is over 30%, the cocoa can no longer be processed into powder.

8. The deoiled cocoa mass is now ground into powder. [1]

The health effects of cocoa

Superfood

Whole, raw cacao is considered a superfood because it is rich in calcium, iron, magnesium and antioxidants. Magnesium controls muscle cells, is part of energy metabolism, and like calcium, strengthens bones and teeth. Calcium is also an important part of the nervous system and blood clotting. Iron primarily binds oxygen to the blood cells. Is therefore important for the distribution of oxygen in the body. In fact, as far as antioxidants are concerned, raw cacao is considered to be one of the foods in which these substances are most abundant! Antioxidants are vital to fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Reduction of blood prere

The flavanols contained in cocoa make blood vessels more elastic. Thus the blood can flow better. Blockages caused by LDL cholesterol, for example, are prevented. The stroke-. Risk of heart attack decreases. [4]

Feeling of happiness

The amino acid thryptophan contained in cocoa forms the hormone serotonin in the body, which provides a feeling of happiness. However, the amount of serotonin formed is too small to have a real effect. It is much more the emotional attachment we associate with chocolate or a chocolaty taste that sends out the substance dopamine once the associated situation occurs. This also provides a feeling of happiness. 9)

Healthy alternative to chocolate

Unlike conventional chocolate and sweetened and highly heated drinking cacao, raw cacao powder is a whole food. With a little creativity, you can create chocolaty shakes, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake and more in a healthy twist. Thus, cocoa powder helps to satisfy chocolate cravings and avoid reaching for a chocolate with refined sugar.

Cacao a superfood rainbow circle

Fresh beans, roasted beans and cocoa powder in the picture.

Theobromine

In coffee it is the caffeine, in tea the teein and in cocoa the theobromine. All of these substances are among the alkaloids, substances that affect the nervous system. Theobromine differs from caffeine in that it is milder, but has a longer-lasting effect on the body.

Theobromine, like caffeine, affects the nervous system by opening ion channels and thus exciting the nerves. This triggers more action potentials. At smaller doses, mainly sensory nerve cells are affected, but at larger doses, motor brain cells can also be affected. In addition, theobromine's adenosine-like structure acts as a competitive inhibitor, blocking certain receptors needed to regulate cell activity. Normally, adenosine serves as a negative feedback loop. Nerve cells consume energy, and adenosine is produced in the process. The more active the cells, the more adenosine is present and the higher the likelihood that it will hit the receptors, activating them and thus reducing cell activity again. However, if the receptor is blocked, there is no control and the cell can no longer be protected from overreaction. [11] This stimulating effect stimulates the cardiovascular system, as well as the metabolism and respiration. This is the reason why cacao can help against fatigue and stimulate fat burning due to faster metabolism. This effect therefore counteracts the caloric richness of cacao. Is supposed to be able to fight even overweight according to an American study. [10]

As with other neural stimulants, withdrawal symptoms may even occur. The body forms new, free adenosine receptors, which is why the stimulating effect wears off after a few days. However, as soon as the consumption of cacao and thus theobromine is stopped, too many receptors are present and cellular activity is limited as opposed to before. Consequences can be, for example, tiredness or exhaustion. New studies also suggest that theobromine curbs the urge to cough, and thus may also find use in medicine. [1] [3]

Caution: not all cocoa is the same!

In this article, I have considered only whole raw food cacao. Only because this is produced gently and at the low processing temperatures the enzymes, minerals and vital substances remain contained, it can be considered as a complete food with the described effects. Conventional cacao, even if it doesn't contain refined sugar or milk powder, has been heated and processed so much that the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are almost non-existent. In addition, there are possible chemicals used in production, as described above.

Conclusion

Unlike conventional chocolate and refined cacao powder, high-quality raw cacao is a whole food. Apart from its stimulating effect by the contained Theobromin, Kakaopulver scores by its positive effects on the heart cycle system, the metabolism, its wealth at important minerals as well as Antioxidantien and naturally its good taste and the associated feeling of happiness.

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