The wonders of Cacao Fino de Aroma: The health benefits of chocolate
The Origin and Characteristics of Cacao Fino de Aroma
Cocoa, the principal ingredient in chocolate, is known for its rich and diverse flavor profiles. The tastes and qualities of chocolate we enjoy are significantly influenced by the type of cocoa beans used in its production. Predominantly, there are three main types of cocoa beans: Forastero, Criollo, and Trinitario. Each class is unique in its flavor, aroma, color, and even the regions where it's grown. Here's a brief overview of each type:
Also known as bulk cocoa, Forastero beans are the most common and widely cultivated, making up 93.5%of global production. They are native to the Amazon region and have been widely cultivated in West Africa. Forastero beans are known for their robust and bitter flavor, which is generally less nuanced than Criollo beans. These beans are also hardier and more disease-resistant, making them easier to cultivate.
The Criollo and Trinitario cacao beans are classified as Cacao Fino de Aroma, but what does it mean?
Cacao Fino de Aroma is a term that refers to high-quality cocoa beans with distinctive and exquisite flavours and aromas. The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) brings the following definition:
The ICCO, in its article, "Project to determine the physical, chemical, and organoleptic parameters to differentiate between fine and bulk cocoa," highlights the unique characteristics of the flavour profiles, which include fruity, floral, and nutty malt notes. But also we can differentiate them for the genetic origin of planting material, morphological characteristics of the plant, and chemical parts of the cocoa beans, such as the theobromine/caffeine ratio, which is an important parameter to determine the type of cocoa based on their origin - the Forastero type is less rich in caffeine.
Cacao Fino de Aroma is predominantly grown in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, representing only around 8% of the world's cocoa production, fine flavour cocoa beans are highly sought after for their superior taste and quality, and it's the main ingredient in Luker Chocolates's products! In this blog, we will explore the unique characteristics of Cacao Fino de Aroma and delve into its numerous health benefits.
Health Benefits of Chocolate and Cocoa Consumption
Many people refer to cocoa and chocolate as "feel good" treat. Now science and diverse studies are finding it may also be good for the body. Here you can find some of the health benefits of chocolate intake:
- Rich in Antioxidants:
The article Cacao to cocoa to chocolate: healthy food? by Roya Kelishadi MD points out the research that finds the cocoa bean and its products, such as chocolate, is rich in specific antioxidants like catechins, epicatechin, procyanidins, and polyphenols similar to those found in vegetables and tea. These natural antioxidants are believed to reduce the number of free radicals in the body and can defend against reactive oxygen species.
This may surprise you, but a 100gr chocolate bar made with our 65% Dark Chocolate single-origin Tumaco has the same antioxidants as six glasses of wine or 3 cups of green tree.
- Improved Heart Health:
It's proved that chocolate is an abundant source of flavanols, which may offer cardiometabolic protection through several mechanisms, including antihypertensive, antiplatelet, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects. Several studies examined that flavanol-rich chocolate and cocoa products caused a reduction in blood pleasure, promoted overall cardiovascular health, and reduced the risk of heart disease, as concluded the study Chocolate Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies.
Nutritionists recommend eating 6 gr of dark chocolate per day. Just a small quantity of our 85% dark chocolate Tumaco is enough to prevent heart disease.
- Enhanced Brain Function:
Cacao Fino de Aroma can boost cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain and promoting neuroplasticity, thanks to its rich flavonoid content. Also, the antioxidants in cocoa help improve memory functions and learning ability by creating new brain cells. An article from the United States National Institute of Health called Effect of cocoa and cocoa products on cognitive performance in young adults shows evidence from clinical studies that suggested that cocoa and cocoa-derivates product consumption can effectively improve general cognition and working memory, particularly among older populations at risk or with cognitive decline.
- Mood Enhancement:
As explained in the article Why does chocolate make us happy? chemical reactions exist that explain why chocolate makes us happy. The brain uses the presence of tryptophan, which is an amino acid in chocolate, to make serotonin. This neurotransmitter can produce feelings of happiness and a sense of well-being. Also, researchers find phenylethylamine (PEA), another amino acid that promotes feelings of attraction, excitement, and nervousness associated with the initial euphoria of falling in love. This chemical also acts as an anti-depressant by combining with dopamine which is naturally present in the brain.
- Diabetes Management:
Yes! Dark chocolate could lower diabetes risk, according to a study called Dark chocolate rich in polyphenols improves insulin sensitivity in the adult non-diabetic population by Endocrine Abstracts. Its daily consumption positively affects insulin sensitivity and blood sugar, two critical factors in developing diabetes. However, people with diabetes should consume chocolate in moderation, as it can still impact blood sugar levels.
Search for dark chocolate that contains above 70% of cocoa. Our dark chocolates range it's perfect for making your recipes healthy but indulgent!
- Skin Health:
The study Impact of Cocoa on human health from the Journal of Education, Health and Sports highlights the benefits for the skin the consumption of it brings, such as protecting skin from UV effects. It is caused by cacao components, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and photoprotective impacts on the skin. Antioxidants have a significant role in preventing premature skin ageing by decreasing oxidative stress. Cocoa also increases cutaneous and subcutaneous tissue blood flow, skin density, and hydration. Therefore, chocolate-rich cocoa can be an anti-ageing agent for treating and preventing skin diseases.
Through various studies, science has spoken up and demonstrated that chocolate can positively impact your health. Notably, these health benefits are associated with moderate consumption of high-quality chocolate, preferably with a high cocoa content, a balanced diet, and exercise. Whether you indulge in a rich 65% dark chocolate or savor the robust flavors of 85% dark chocolate, incorporating fine flavour chocolate into your diet can be a delicious and healthful choice.