Chock-full of Cocoa: 5 Health Benefits To Saying “Yes” To Cocoa For The Holidays

This is the season of giving, isn’t it? We all love receiving gifts, but deep down inside, we all know that the joy we get from giving gifts runs much deeper than a new toy or gadget. Dentists love giving gifts too. This may surprise you because you may envision all dentists as being the Grinch of “NO.” Perhaps your vision of a dentist is one that stands humped over with a snarl on his face, eyeballing every move you make. He spends his day hobbling around with his cane monitoring every sugary and teeth-harming treat and exclaims, “No! Not today, not ever!” (Insert a smug and satisfied chuckle as he successfully prevented another tooth from decay).

Most dentists are not at all like this Grinch of “No”; at Les Belles NYC, we love saying “yes.” You’ll be happy to know one tasty treat that we love giving full permission to eat. Cocoa in chocolate has many health benefits that make it a beneficial food to eat for your health.

“Give me chocolate, and nobody get’s hurt!”

Go ahead and reach for the cocoa-filled chocolate treats, and here’s 5 reasons why!

1. Cocoa lowers your high blood pressure. Its flavonoid-rich content will improve the elasticity of your blood vessels. The antioxidants provided by the cocoa stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes your blood vessels and helps maintain your healthy circulatory system.

As the weather gets cooler this winter, why not cozy up to a warm fire and hug a mug of hot cocoa. Start with one cup of your favorite milk, and heat it in a saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon of stevia powder, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix together, and enjoy!

2. Cocoa boosts your brainpower. When consuming flavonol-rich cocoa it helps maintain your healthy brain with positive effects on learning and memory. By eating cocoa, blood flow to your brain is enhanced and it awakens your brain activity.

Winter requires some snow-shoveling to clear out some areas. Why not clear your brain with cocoa bark. Melt your dark chocolate and pour onto not-stick paper. While the chocolate is still melted, sprinkle your favorite wintery nuts and seeds over the top. When the chocolate is firm, break it into pieces and enjoy!

3. Cocoa improves your cardiovascular health. Its flavonoids have antioxidant properties that aid in the protection of your cells from damage while strengthening your heart at the same time. It is beneficial to HDL cholesterol and prevents the formation of blood clots, which can lead to stroke or cardiac failure.

We all love the holiday season. Make these heart-shaped cocoa treats to give a gift to your heart. Mix 2 plantains, 6 dates, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 2/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes, ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons agave nectar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Gradually add hot water to moisten. After mixing well, form into heart-shaped treats to pop in your mouth and enjoy!

4. Cocoa enhances your mood. Can we just give ourselves a happy hug knowing cocoa can make us happier? Cocoa has antidepressant-like effects on some physiological processes. The flavonols in cocoa can enhance your mood, combat depression and promote feelings of contentment.

“The roots of happiness grow deepest in the soil of service.”

Why not serve your friends at your holiday parties with dark chocolate covered pretzel rods. Add any type of nut or crushed peppermints to the yummy and crunchy treats. Everyone’s mood will be boosted with these tasty treats.

5. Cocoa makes your skin healthy and beautiful. It’s been found to reduce skin roughness and scaling. Its ability to boost skin elasticity, hydration and density leave you with healthy and beautiful skin.

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