Las golosinas en alimentación no siempre son buenas, pero el cacao sí lo es: incorporarlo a tu dieta diaria puede contribuir sustancialmente a mejorar tu salud y tu rendimiento deportivo.
Cocoa: a precious ally for sporty types
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.
However, the benefits of cocoa are not just for sporty types – on the contrary. This substance also boasts antioxidant properties and helps to counter the cellular ageing process that occurs due to free radical activity; it also has a positive impact on mood. Tryptophan, the amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin – the so-called “good mood hormone” – helps to regulate sleep rhythms, significantly reducing the risk of depression and stress.
Cocoa and chocolate, similar but different
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, flavorings, cocoa butter and other optional ingredients, such as milk or hazelnuts.
Dark chocolate, therefore, can be integrated into your day-to-day diet – though not to excess: although it is a source of flavanols, it is also high in sugar and fat, and thus has a high calorie content. A good snack for an athlete? 20/30 grams of chocolate (with at least 60% cocoa) and some dried fruit.