Here’s a list of 13 science-proven health benefits you can get from theobromine, a naturally-occurring chemical compound you can get from eating dark chocolate or drinking herbal tea.
In this article:
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Prevents Tooth Decay
- Increases Airflow in Lungs
- Promotes Weight Loss
- Improves Heart and Brain Activity
- Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory
- Removes Bodily Toxins
- Improves Cholesterol Levels
- Helps You Sleep
- May Prevent Kidney Stones
- Reduces Gout Symptoms
- Increases Brain Function
- May Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Theobromine and Its 13 Science-Proven Health Benefits
Theobromine Definition: formerly called xantheose; found in tea plant leaves, cacao beans, and kola nut; generally creates a stimulatory effect on humans
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
The theobromine in chocolate has many health benefits. One of the best known is its ability to lower the body’s blood pressure. Once theobromine is in the body, it releases a compound called nitric oxide into the bloodstream.
The nitric oxide helps to reduce the enzymes in the blood which cause vascular constriction. This causes your vessels to widen up, allowing blood to flow more freely throughout your body.
2. Prevents Tooth Decay
Theobromine is also a promising deterrent against tooth decay and cavities. Lately, researchers have been comparing it to fluoride, the cavity-fighting component used in almost every toothpaste product available in the market today.
The way theobromine works is it targets the teeth’s crystalline structure. It coats the whole enamel and protects the entire tooth from acid erosion caused by leftover food.
Theobromine is slowly gaining a reputation as a toothpaste booster and is being studied as an alternative to fluoride.
3. Increases Airflow in Lungs
Theobromine doesn’t just help to open up the body’s blood vessels for better blood pressure. It’s also known to open up the body’s airways so more oxygen can get into the lungs.
Researchers have seen theobromine to be capable of relaxing the body’s smooth lung muscles. Relaxing these muscles helps to increase the airflow moving through the lungs which is a good way to manage respiratory conditions like shortness of breath, persistent coughing, and even asthma.
4. Promotes Weight Loss
Amounts of theobromine in the body are also known to promote weight loss. Studies have shown that theobromine is one of the few natural substances which can effectively reduce eating urges and hunger pangs. It’s also known to help break down the excess fat in the body.
Theobromine is also an effective stimulant. As such, it gives you enough energy to last through the day despite controlling your urges to eat.
5. Improves Heart and Brain Activity
As was mentioned previously, theobromine can act as a natural stimulant. Because of this, it can temporarily improve the body’s heart and brain functions.
It does this by increasing the blood flow throughout the body, especially towards the heart and brain. Increased blood flow helps to make the body more physically and mentally alert.
6. Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory
Aside from being a natural stimulant, studies have also documented the anti-inflammatory properties of theobromine. It acts as an antioxidant with the ability to oxidate the toxins from the body right down to a cellular level. It’s also been seen to be effective against conditions involving muscle swelling like arthritis.
7. Removes Bodily Toxins
We mentioned earlier that theobromine has antioxidative properties. While these properties are intrinsic to the compound, its effectiveness is increased when it’s combined with other compounds.
For example, the theobromine in dark chocolate works together with the polyphenols in cacao. When theobromine and polyphenols work together, they act like an antioxidant which protect the body against free radicals and helps to flush out all sorts of toxins in the body.
8. Improves Cholesterol Levels
Theobromine does two things related to the body’s cholesterol levels. One, it helps increase the body’s high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. And two, it can lower the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol molecules throughout your bloodstream.
Before worrying about increasing your body’s cholesterol levels on purpose by consuming loads of theobromine, you have to know that there are two kinds of cholesterol—the good and the bad kind.
HDL cholesterol is the good kind of cholesterol. It’s in charge of capturing the LDL cholesterol molecules swimming through your blood vessels.
Too much LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream could cause blockages which can lead to blood clots and heart attacks in the future.
9. Helps You Sleep
Aside from being a natural stimulant, theobromine is also known to help lower a person’s feelings of anxiety which promotes stress relief. Theobromine also enables both your body and mind to relax more.
Feeling more relaxed and having lower levels of stress can lead to you having a good night’s sleep.
10. May Prevent Kidney Stones
Taking some theobromine extracted from cacao or 70% dark chocolate also helps to prevent uric acid from building up in the body. With less uric acid lying around in your body, the chances of you developing kidney stones are lessened.
Theobromine doesn’t just break down the excess uric acid in your body. It’s also known as a natural diuretic.
It keeps you from getting kidney stones by increasing the fluids and salts expelled from the body through frequent urination.
11. Reduces Gout Symptoms
Gout is a special form of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid present in the blood which eventually builds up around the joints. The uric acid eventually forms needle-like crystals on the joints which causes people who have it to experience some pain, redness, and swelling usually around the feet and ankle areas.
As mentioned previously, theobromine works well to break down any excess uric acid present in the blood.
Eliminating excess amounts of uric acid doesn’t just lower your risk of experiencing kidney stones. It’ll also help reduce the symptoms of gout and keep joint inflammation at bay.
12. Increases Brain Function
When combined with natural flavanols in cocoa and tea, theobromine can actually increase a person’s brain functions.
Studies have shown that the combination of theobromine and flavanols help to improve one’s mental performance. Plus, ingesting theobromine has also been observed to reduce mental fatigue.
13. May Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Research also suggests that theobromine has the ability to reduce one’s risk of cancer. According to studies, it helps to prevent the buildup of certain enzymes which, when left to accumulate, can lead to the growth of cancer cells.
Learn more information on theobromine in this video from CHEM151 SP17:
You can easily enjoy the 13 theobromine benefits listed above by eating dark chocolate and drinking herbal tea. You can even take a theobromine supplement instead if you’re not used to the bitterness of dark chocolate or tea. Just make sure you eat, drink, and take everything in moderation so you won’t be affected by any theobromine side effects.
Have you heard of the other health benefits of theobromine? Tell us in the comments section below!