One World Weblog - February
The Most Surprising Health Benefits of Coffee and Chocolate
This month at One World Roasters, we've got organic coffee and raw chocolate on the brain—which isn't surprising given the two awesome tastings we have coming up on the 7th and the 13th in collaboration with raw organic chocolatier Aruna Chocolates. In light of this excitement, we've decided to take a deeper look at what makes coffee and chocolate so darn special.
Chocolate and coffee are two of the most familiar indulgences to us as a culture, but there’s a whole lot more to these delectable mood enhancers than just craveable flavor. These two substances that begin as humble bean pods grown throughout Central, South America, and beyond, are some of nature’s most powerful health boosters. In this post we will explore the most surprising health benefits of our favorite beverage and sweet treat—as if you needed more reasons to love coffee and chocolate!
Food scientists have found many strong connections between consistent coffee/dark chocolate habits and the decreased likelihood of several serious medical conditions.
Studies have indicated that both food products have potential to lower the risk of specific cancers. Spanish lab studies have linked cocoa-rich diets, packed with polyphenol antioxidants, to a significant decrease in pre-cancerous colon lesions, and extensive work has also illustrated the fantastic benefits of coffee in the reduction of cirrhosis and liver cancer risks.
And if that didn’t get your attention, people who drink 4-6 cups of coffee a day have a 28 percent lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes, one of the most rampant diet-related illness in the United States. Of course, chocolate can also help in this area. Participants in a German study who consumed the most chocolate had a nearly 40 percent lower chance of stoke and heart attack.
Studies have also yielded interested findings for physical performance. A cup of coffee before a workout is a well-known way to optimize exercise routines via caffeine’s energizing properties, but studies also suggest that caffeine triggers a breakdown of body fat for additional fuel—further powering you up!
In experiments on mice, scientists have also found that special epicatechin antioxidants in chocolate trigger a similar muscular response as cardio exercise, suggesting potential to offset muscular aging. But let’s not jump to replacing exercise with chocolate just yet … These are impressive benefits, but it’s important to consume these things in moderation and not raise your calorie intake from chocolate and sugary coffee drinks.
Aruna Chocolate owner Kerry Lucier points out that the antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate can also be lost if chocolate is raised above 118 degrees Fahrenheit—losing many of its superfood qualities, and the raw certification, which is certainly worth paying
The mental benefits of coffee have been well documented by many people in the medical field like CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, but did you know they go far beyond elevated focus and mental acuity? While these relationships are not completely understood, coffee’s caffeine content has been consistently linked to a lower likelihood of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. An extensive study in 2009 showed that people who consumed 3-5 cups of coffee a day for 20 years or more were 65 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia than non-coffee drinkers. Serious stuff.
And coffee and chocolate are both rich in flavanoid antioxidants, which have also been strongly linked to the preservation of mental function.
Lastly—coffee and chocolate just make us feel good. Scientists found drinkers of 4 cups of coffee or more a day are 10 percent less likely to experience depression, due to the many benefits of coffee’s antioxidants. And pair that cup of a joe with some dark chocolate to experience a nice dip in your stress levels, as chocolate’s flavanoids were also found to lower the body’s “fight or flight” stress hormone, cortisol.
And you’ll have plenty of time to reap these wonderful benefits because coffee might even help you live longer!
To health and happy tastebuds,
One World Roasters
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967 North High St,
East Haven CT 06512