Let’s Talk About Cocoa!

Cocoa contains very high amounts of polyphenols (potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants), including the flavonoids catechin, epicatechin, and procyanidin (Katz et al., 2011). A variety of research points to benefits of cocoa’s polyphenols in a variety of different health contexts. The epicatechin can up-regulate nitric oxide production (the active ingredient in Viagra) and relax and dilate vasculature, improving blood flow and overall organ health. The polyphenols (antioxidants) are also associated with direct influence on insulin resistance, reducing risk for diabetes, and have potent anti-inflammatory effects that are associated with cardiovascular benefits. Cocoa polyphenols (antioxidants) have also been found to influence gene expression and immune responses, and can have protective effects against injury and inflammation in skin, nerves, and the nervous system. Studies also find beneficial effects of cocoa on hunger/satiety, cognitive function, and mood. Cocoa is often found and consumed in chocolate products that contain high amounts of sugars and fats that can have adverse health effects and lead to overconsumption and risk of weight gain. However, unsweetened cocoa contains all the beneficial polyphenols without the extra sugars and fats.



Persia et al's 2020 Antioxidant Anti-Inflammatory Cocoa Smoothie

  • 8 oz of dark green leafy vegetables (e.g.,, spinach, baby bok choy, or baby kale).
  • 2.25 cups of blueberries.
  • 1 banana.
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed.
  • ½ cup of soy milk (plain or vanilla) or unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
  • ½ cup of water.

Health Benefits:

  • Reduces inflammation and CRP (inflammatory marker)
  • Reduces risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Reduces risk for autoimmune diseases
  • Reduces risk for COVID-19
  • Reduces risk for age-related macular degeneration
  • Reduces risk for chronic kidney disease and injury
  • Reduces risk for nonallergic asthma
  • Reduces risk for COPD
  • Reduces risk for hypertension
  • Reduces risk for all-cause mortality

Key Players in this Antioxidant Anti-Inflammatory Cocoa Super Smoothie

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