Cocoa is a powder extracted from the seeds of the cacao tree, also known as the Theobroma cacao, or “food of the gods”. The high levels of flavanols and magnesium in cocoa have a positive effect on the oxygenation of tissues, muscles and the brain, and improve the metabolism of sugars, which are immediately turned into energy. Cocoa is not the same thing as chocolate: cocoa is the powder obtained by roasting and grinding the seeds of the plant after these have been dried, before any other ingredients are added; chocolate, on the other hand, is produced by mixing cocoa powder with sugar, flavourings, cocoa butter and other optional ingredients, such as milk or hazelnuts. Accordingly, to reap the full benefits of cocoa, the ideal approach is to consume it pure, in powder form, or diluted in a glass of milk: as a matter of fact, pure cocoa preserves its nutritional and antioxidant properties, while these gradually diminish as the percentage of cocoa present in chocolate decreases.
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