“Everything in moderation.” The essential thought is found in the work of the Greek poet Hesiod (c.700 bc), who wrote ‘observe due measure; moderation is best in all things’, and of the Roman comic dramatist Plautus (c. 250–184 bc), who wrote ‘moderation in all things is the best policy.’1 These wise words are especially prudent when it comes to delicious food that may have high calories or may not be the best for us. When something is delicious and beneficial, double bonus! Such is the case with cacao or cocoa powder.
Cacao beans are a source of flavonoids, with the primary type present being flavanols. Cacao beans come from the fruit of the tree known as Theobroma cacao. Theobroma means “food of the gods” and aptly, cacao beans not only contain flavanols but also nearly 400 other identified compounds.2
Flavanols are a type of plant nutrient found in many foods and drinks, such as tea, red wine, blueberries, apples, pears, cherries, and peanuts. They are particularly abundant in cacao beans. Fermenting, drying, and roasting cacao beans yields cocoa powder, which is used to make chocolate. Flavanols in cocoa have been studied for many years. Decades of research and more than 100 published studies have demonstrated the benefits of daily cocoa flavanol consumption, including supporting a healthy heart, blood pressure, brain health and cognition, circulation and skin health. 3 They have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, prevent blood clots, and fight cell damage.4
With the emerging recognition of the beneficial effects of flavanols, there has been a shift in commercial production towards chocolate forms with high flavanol content.5 Cocoa powder can contain as little as 10% fat and has up to 6% by weight, flavanols. It also has minerals (Magnesium, Copper, Vitamin K and Calcium), protein, and fiber in modest amounts. The main flavanols present in the cocoa powder are catechins and epicatechins.
Italian researchers tested the effects of cocoa flavanols in 90 healthy 61- to 85-year-olds whose memories and thinking skills were in good shape for their ages. Participants drank a special brew of cocoa flavanols each day. One group’s brew contained a low amount of cocoa flavanols (48 mg a day), another’s contained a medium amount (520 mg), and the third’s contained a high amount (993 mg).
After eight weeks, people who consumed medium and high amounts of cocoa flavanols every day made significant improvements on tests that measured attention, executive function, and memory. The findings were published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A similar study by these researchers published in 2012 showed that daily consumption of cocoa flavanols was associated with improved thinking skills in older adults who did have thinking problems, a condition called mild cognitive impairment. And both studies found that cocoa flavanols were associated with reduced blood pressure and improved insulin resistance. 6
Formulated to help people reach their recommended daily allowance of fruit and vegetables, in other words, to eat an Active Wellness diet, Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix was designed with children in mind. It therefore “hid” its four recommended daily servings of veggies and fruits per serving/scoop with delicious chocolate flavor.
When you check out the ingredient listing of Kenzen Total Vegan Drink Mix, you’ll see that the second ingredient is Organic Cacao Powder. The formulation of this powdered green superfood is proprietary, but we can tell you that there are 3.15g of Organic Cacao in each 6.3g serving. That’s a significant amount, based on studies mentioned above, so whether you’re trying to get veggies into a child or feeding your own adult heart and brain, it doesn’t get easier than this! Just add water and get a delicious chocolate beverage that is really good for the body and mind: triple bonus!
3 Kwik-Uribe, Cocoa flavanols: Manufacturing Process & Supply Chain Make or Break Benefits, Nutraceuticals World, July/August 2020, p. 36.