Cocoa powder is made by crushing cocoa beans and removing the cocoa fat or butter.
Today, cocoa is best known for its role in the production of chocolate. However, modern research has revealed that it contains important compounds that can benefit our health.
The health benefits of cocoa include:
improved heart and brain health
sugar and weight control
healthy teeth and skin
It is nutritious and easy to creatively add to your diet. However, be sure to use non-alkalized (dark chocolate) cocoa powder that contains more than 70% cocoa if you want to maximize its health benefits.
Remember that chocolate still contains significant amounts of sugar and fat. So if you are going to use it, stick to reasonable portions and combine it with a healthy, balanced diet.
It is also important to note that cocoa naturally contains lead and cadmium. Thus, the darker the chocolate, the more likely it is to have a high concentration of these heavy metals.
Cocoa powder: Nutritional values per 100 grams
Calories: 400 calories
Saturated fatty acids: 8.1 g
Monounsaturated fatty acids: 4.6 g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 0.4 g
Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 14% of the daily value -recommended- (DV)
Niacin (vitamin B3): 11% DV
Folic acid: 8% DV
Vitamin B6: 6% DV
Thiamine (vitamin B1): 5% DV
Vitamin K: 3% DV
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 3% DV
Vitamin E: 1% DV
Manganese: 192% DV
Copper: 189% DV
Magnesium: 125% DV
Iron: 77% DV
Phosphorus: 73% DV
Zinc: 45% DV
Potassium: 44% DV
Selenium: 20% DV
Calcium: 13% DV
Cocoa Powder: Health Benefits
1. Rich in polyphenols
Cocoa is rich in polyphenols, which have important health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and improving cholesterol levels. However, processing cocoa into chocolate or other products can significantly reduce the polyphenol content.
2. It May Reduce High Blood Pressure by Improving Nitric Oxide Levels
Studies reveal that cocoa is rich in flavanols, which lower blood pressure by improving nitric oxide levels and blood vessel function. Cocoa powder containing 30 to 1,218 mg of flavanols can lower blood pressure by an average of 2 mmHg.
3. It may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke
Cocoa can improve blood circulation and lower cholesterol. Eating up to one serving of chocolate a day can reduce the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.
4. Flavonols Improve Brain Function
Cocoa flavanols can support neuron production, brain function and improve blood flow to brain tissue. They may play a role in preventing age-related brain degeneration, such as Alzheimer’s disease, but more research is needed to prove this.
5. It May Improve Mood and Symptoms of Depression
Cocoa powder may have positive effects on mood and symptoms of depression, reducing stress levels and improving calmness, contentment and overall psychological well-being. However, more research is needed to confirm these benefits.
6. Flavanols May Improve Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Cocoa and dark chocolate can reduce the risk of diabetes and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. However, there are conflicting results in the scientific evidence, so more research is needed.
7. It can help with weight control
Products containing cocoa powder are associated with lower weight, and adding cocoa to your diet may help you lose weight faster. However, more research is needed on this topic to determine exactly what type and amount of cocoa is ideal.
8. May Have Anti-Cancer Properties
Cocoa flavanols have been shown to have promising anticancer properties in test-tube and animal studies, but data from human trials are lacking.
9. Theobromine and theophylline content may help people with asthma
Cocoa extract has shown some anti-asthmatic properties in animal studies. However, human trials are needed before it can be recommended as an asthma treatment.