Like most sane humans on this planet, chocolate is a weakness of mine. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s delicious, sweet and lovely and it won’t leave you, taking the expensive rug that really “tied the room together” and hawking it to feed a different kind of weakness, but I digress. Turns out, there are benefits of cocoa that I didn’t know.
I enjoy my fair share of kale and quinoa, but my diet mainly includes whatever I can muster up from the dwindling contents of my fridge, though I always seem to have some dark chocolate lying around.
Now I assumed, like many, that it was a guilty pleasure of mine to keep on the down low. Not anymore! Chocolate is now good for you! *Cue balloons and marching band* Not just good, great, excellent even. The one caveat is that it has to be real, plant-based, dark chocolate, that has been minimally processed, so don’t start downing Mr. Goodbars and other “mockolate” readily available at the checkout counter of your local grocery store.
According to many recent studies, the properties in raw cocoa, more specifically the antioxidants, have a flurry of positive effects on the body.
Benefits of Cocoa on your Body
In case you are curious, antioxidants are compounds made by plants to stop their own cells from “premature destruction” caused by exposure to heat, air, moisture and light.  These antioxidants do the same for your body as well! They protect the body from premature aging and help to reduce the likeliness of some illnesses.
Cocoa helps prevent heart disease because it may lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol and stops blood clotting in the arteries, similar to the effects of aspirin.  These compounds also help to increase blood flow and lower blood pressure.  For these reasons and more, dark chocolate could be incredibly beneficial for the heart. I always knew it did my heart well to eat chocolate.
Like honey, there are benefits to using cocoa in wound healing. Scientists have been using cocoa extract to prevent bacterial growth for centuries. I can only imagine the power of combining the two until we created our haute cocoa mask, which does exactly that. Got blemishes? Give it a try!
Cocoa Benefits on the Brain
Not only does cocoa have many positive effects on the body, raw cocoa contains many compounds that are good for the mind. The mood elevator compounds in chocolate release the main feel good chemicals in your brain, serotonin and dopamine. The mood lifting effect is also due in part to cocoa being a stimulant as well as it’s proclivity to release endorphins. Cocoa has a great effect on the chemistry of your brain, also reducing stress hormones.
Benefits of Cocoa for the Skin
The supportive properties found in cocoa powder are not just abundant internally, they also provide many of the same effects externally. Just as the antioxidants help stop the premature breakdown of cells in plants, it does the same for your skin. The use of raw cocoa on the skin, like in our Haute Cocoa Mask, help to protect skin from free radicals and help signs of aging.
Raw cocoa powder can be used to maintain skin health due to flavanols. Flavanols decrease the harmful effects of UV rays to skin while enhancing elasticity and hydration. Inside or out, cocoa is good for the skin.
These properties help to soften, clear and detoxify your skin. Raw cocoa powder can also increase the elasticity of your skin, which helps with fine lines, wrinkles and reduces the appearance of scars. It truly is the food of the gods!
It is important to note that the cocoa powder used also has to be minimally processed, as close to the tree as possible and organic for the best effects. Much of what is commercially available has gone through a method called “Dutch processing” which strips the cocoa of the properties that make it great. Here at the Honey House, we only use organic raw cocoa in our Haute Cocoa Scrub and our Haute Cocoa Mask that has been minimally processed so it retains what makes cocoa so great for your skin!
So when you are feeling that craving for chocolate, give into it and smear some cocoa powder based on your face, but mix it with some raw honey, maybe a little yogurt or carrot juice first!