Sub Titled- Singing the Praises of the World's Healthiest Beans
While we have talked about the health benefits of dark chocolate and brewed cacao products in a previous article, we did not get in to much detail. This article may be considered as too scientific by some, but it is very important to know what is healthy and unhealthy for our bodies. Typically, when our medical doctor prescribes a pill, we take it without reservation. Is that wise? When we buy prepared food and drinks at the grocery store, we assume that our government only allows healthy products to be sold in our stores. Is that true? The answer to both questions is sadly no.
Note: This article serves to inform you of the healthful benefits found in both caffeine and cacao beans so that you can make informed decisions regarding your diet and habits. We are not suggesting you change your diet drastically or stop taking prescribed medication without discussing it with your doctor.
What are phytochemicals?
Most people are familiar with the basic nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Less often discussed are phytochemicals, which are classified as "nonessential nutrients" There are thousands of phytochemicals that we are aware of and thousands more to be discovered, each with their own healing properties
Both the coffee and cacao beans are rich sources of phytochemicals. Caffeine and theobromine, provided by these beans, are photochemical alkaloids with numerous health benefits. Caffeine is widely known and is found in coffee, some teas, and over the counter medications. Theobromine, which is not as commonly known as caffeine, is found in dark chocolate and cacao brews. The photochemical alkaloids caffeine and theobromine are beneficial to the human body.
Health Benefits of Caffeine
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, which increases respiration and blood circulation by dilating your blood vessels. Caffeine also acts as a diuretic. Caffeine increases the body's circulation while stimulating the oxidation of fatty acids, contributing to weight reduction and better athletic performance. Caffeine is often combined with aspirin to treat headaches. Remember, moderation is the key to healthy caffeine consumption.
Plants containing caffeine have been used by different cultures over centuries. Caffeinated teas were used to treat headaches, coughs, and even the plague. Interestingly enough, only in recent history is caffeine used to avoid slumber and relieve fatigue. Caffeine is now one of the most widely used phytochemicals. Contrary to popular beliefs, caffeine is not addictive, but it can be habit-forming. Normal levels of caffeine consumption are not toxic to humans but are very toxic to dogs, cats and horses.
Health Benefits of Theobromine
Theobromine has similar effects as caffeine but to a lesser degree, making it a healthy alternative to those with caffeine sensitivities.. Like caffeine, theobromine is a diuretic and a stimulant. Theobromine dilates your blood vessels, helping lower blood pressure. Unlike caffeine, theobromine does not affect the central nervous system yet remains a stimulant. Theobromine can also relax bronchia muscles in the lungs, making it beneficial for people with asthma and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Theobromine is also used as cough medicine. Studies show that theobromine acts positively on the vagus nerve, which runs from the lungs to the brain. Physicians in the Middle East recommend the consumption of 4 cups of coffee daily. They believe this limits heart disease and colorectal cancer, while reducing the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. There are also claims that coffee consumption reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, depression, and prostate cancer. Studies have also shown that high coffee consumption is associated with decreased risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Researchers cannot determine what it is in coffee that produces these healthful benefits. We can only assume that coffee's positive effects are due to the high amount of phytochemicals found in every cup.