Cocoa Powder: Nutritional Facts, Health Benefits and Risks

What Is Cocoa Powder?

Cocoa powder is the results of crushing cocoa beans and eradicating the cocoa butter. Cocoa beans are the seeds of the fruit of the cocoa tree—additionally known as Theobroma cacao. In Greek, the genus identify Theobroma interprets to “meals of the gods.”

There are totally different forms of cocoa beans, and the commonest embody the Forastero, Trinitario, and the Criollo. Forastero is native to the Amazon basin, and it accounts for practically 80% to 85% of the world’s cocoa manufacturing. Criollo is a really high-quality and uncommon cocoa bean that’s fairly costly and is utilized in luxurious chocolate. It is native to South and Central America, and solely accounts for about three % to 5 % of the world’s cocoa manufacturing.

Last however not least, trinitario got here into existence after a hurricane practically destroyed the criollo crops of Trinidad in 1727.
Today, the trinitario is often discovered within the Caribbean, Colombia, and Venezuela, and it accounts for round 12% of cocoa manufacturing on the earth.

Whatever the range, there are various potential cocoa powder health advantages. Cocoa powder is alleged to cut back hypertension, decrease coronary heart assault danger, scale back melancholy, deal with bronchial asthma, enhance blood circulate to the mind, enhance HDL, or the “good” ldl cholesterol, and extra.

In this text, you’ll be taught extra about these health advantages in addition to the diet information of cocoa powder. We’ll additionally focus on the potential unwanted effects of this scrumptious powder. Let’s get began…

Nutritional Facts of Cocoa Powder

What are the cocoa powder diet information? One cup of cocoa powder is completely loaded with diet, and comprises a very good quantity of carbohydrates, fiber, fats, and protein. It is particularly excessive in fiber, with 114% of your really helpful each day worth.

From a mineral perspective, cocoa powder can be excessive in manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, zinc, selenium, and calcium. It additionally comprises some nutritional vitamins, resembling vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, folate, choline, and vitamin Ok.

The following is a complete diet chart for one cup, or 86 g, of unsweetened cocoa powder.



Daily Value


196 10.00%
Carbohydrates 49.eight g



28.5 g 114.00%
Protein 16.9 g


Total Fat

11.eight g


Saturated Fat

6.9 g



11.9 mg 66.00%
Manganese three.three mg


Calcium mg


Magnesium mg


Phosphorus mg 63.00%
Potassium mg



12.three mcg 18.00%
Zinc 5.9 mg



three.three mg 163.00%
Folate 27.5 mcg


Vitamin B1

zero.1 mg four.00%
Vitamin B2 zero.2 mg


Vitamin Bthree

1.9 mg 9.00%
Vitamin B5 zero.2 mg


Vitamin B6

zero.1 mg 5.00%
Vitamin E zero.1 mg


Vitamin Ok

2.2 mcg three.00%
Choline 10.three mg



198 mg N/A
Theobromine mg


* N/A—Not Applicable

Health Benefits of Cocoa Powder

There is a motive why Theobroma cacao interprets as “meals of the gods.” It is as a result of it’s loaded with health advantages that might completely delay your life.

Polyphenols are antioxidants which might be current in notably excessive quantities in cocoa powder. Polyphenols have been discovered to enhance blood circulate, scale back irritation, enhance levels of cholesterol, and decrease blood stress.

The health advantages of cocoa powder are additionally because of the spectacular diet profile we’ve famous above. It is not any shock that cocoa powder additionally comprises anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antibacterial, cancer-protective, and anti-diabetic properties as effectively.

Read on as we take an in-depth take a look at these many cocoa powder health advantages.

1. Maintains Blood Pressure

One of the higher advantages of cocoa powder is its capacity to cut back hypertension. The blood pressure-lowering impact of cocoa was first famous in Central America, the place the island individuals who drank cocoa had decrease blood pressures than the non-cocoa drinkers.

The flavanols are polyphenols in cocoa which might be thought to enhance nitric oxide ranges within the blood, and this could improve blood vessel operate and decrease blood stress.

A assessment that analyzed 35 experiments, revealed within the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2016, discovered that cocoa produced a major blood stress discount of two mmHg (millimeters of mercury). The blood pressure-lowering impact was larger in individuals with hypertension than these with regular blood stress.

The impact was additionally higher in older adults than in youthful people.

It is essential to notice that processing considerably lowers the flavanol content material in cocoa; subsequently, the antihypertensive results will seemingly not be present in your common chocolate bar.

2. Lowers Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

In addition, cocoa energy may scale back your danger of strokes and coronary heart assaults. As talked about, the flavanols in cocoa enhance nitric oxide ranges within the blood, which additionally dilates and relaxes your blood vessels and arteries to enhance blood circulate.

As a end result, cocoa powder can scale back your heart problems danger, together with the danger of a stroke or a coronary heart assault.

In a assessment of 9 research and 157,809 individuals revealed within the journal Heart in 2015, researchers discovered that greater cocoa consumption was linked with a considerably lowered danger of coronary heart illness, stroke, and loss of life.

This additional means that frequent consumption of small quantities of cocoa-rich chocolate might profit your coronary heart and scale back your danger of stroke and coronary heart assault.

three. Boosts HDL “Good” Cholesterol Levels

High ldl cholesterol is one other danger issue for coronary heart illness. Cholesterol isn’t dangerous basically, and is required moderately for correct operate of your nerves, cells, immune system, hormones, and mind.

Lipoproteins are wanted to move ldl cholesterol by the blood of the physique. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) carries ldl cholesterol from the liver to the cells that want it. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) picks up the surplus ldl cholesterol from the cells and brings it again to the liver, the place the ldl cholesterol is then damaged down and excreted from the physique.

The downside is when the physique creates extra ldl cholesterol than the HDL can take away from the cells, and the additional ldl cholesterol stays within the blood. The ldl cholesterol turns into oxidized, particularly the LDL ldl cholesterol, and attaches to the artery partitions and results in infected arties.

Cocoa has been discovered to cut back LDL, or “dangerous” ldl cholesterol, whereas additionally growing HDL, or “good” levels of cholesterol. This was confirmed in a single 2007 examine the place Japanese researchers reported that consuming cocoa each day might enhance HDL levels of cholesterol.

In the 12-week examine, the lads within the cocoa group confirmed a 24% enhance in HDL ldl cholesterol, whereas HDL had solely elevated by 5 % within the management group that drank a sugary beverage with out cocoa. The LDL ldl cholesterol of the lads who drank cocoa was additionally extra immune to oxidation than that of the lads who didn’t eat cocoa.

four. Improves Blood Flow to Your Brain and Brain Function

The polyphenols present in cocoa may lower your danger of neurodegenerative ailments, and they do that by bettering blood circulate and general mind operate. The flavanols, specifically, can produce neurons and essential molecules wanted for mind operate.

In addition, we all know that flavanols affect nitric oxide manufacturing, and this relaxes blood vessel muscular tissues and improves the blood provide and blood circulate to your mind.

A two-week examine revealed within the journal of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment in 2008 discovered that high-flavanol cocoa elevated blood circulate to the mind by eight % after one week and 10% after two weeks in 34 older adults.

Other research counsel that cocoa can scale back age-related cognitive dysfunction in aged adults, and consequently, cocoa might have constructive results on neurodegenerative ailments like Parkinson’s illness and Alzheimer’s illness.

5. Positive Effects on Mood and Depression

In addition to lowering age-related mind degeneration, cocoa may enhance temper and scale back melancholy signs. The constructive results on temper might derive from the flavanols in cocoa (in addition to the sensory pleasure of consuming chocolate), its caffeine content material, and cocoa’s capacity to transform tryptophan to serotonin—a pure temper stabilizer.

Research suggests cocoa has a constructive impact on temper and treating melancholy. In a examine revealed within the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008, scientists discovered that consuming cocoa was linked to improved general health and psychological well-being in senior males, together with lowered emotions of loneliness.

Another examine revealed in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews in 2013 discovered that cocoa additionally improves temper, calmness, and contentment.

6. Improves Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Although an excessive amount of chocolate isn’t good for blood sugar ranges, cocoa powder truly does have anti-diabetic results. Research revealed within the journal Antioxidants in 2017 signifies that cocoa flavanols can enhance insulin secretion, decelerate carbohydrate absorption and digestion, and stimulate sugar from the blood into the muscular tissues.

Studies present greater flavanol consumption from cocoa can result in a lowered danger of sort 2 diabetes as effectively.

A assessment of human research additionally reveals that consuming cocoa or flavanol-rich darkish chocolate can decrease insulin sensitivity, scale back irritation, and enhance blood sugar management in each non-diabetic and diabetic individuals.

These outcomes counsel that cocoa polyphenols might have a constructive impression on the prevention and remedy of diabetes.

7. Contains Cancer-Protective Properties

The polyphenols in cocoa have been reported to intervene with the development of most cancers. Polyphenols just like the flavanols in cocoa powder are liable for a lot of its cancer-protective properties.

Research reveals that the polyphenols in cocoa inhibit cell progress, combat irritation, shield cells towards injury, forestall the unfold of most cancers, and induce most cancers cell loss of life. Animal research additionally present that cocoa extracts or a cocoa-rich food plan will help scale back incidences of prostate most cancers, pancreatic most cancers, breast most cancers, colon most cancers, and liver most cancers, and additionally leukemia.

Human research additionally counsel cocoa consumption is related to a discount in most cancers danger. A assessment revealed within the journal Nutrition and Cancer in 2009 signifies that the antioxidant results of cocoa might assist forestall most cancers, too.

eight. Helps Treat People with Asthma

Asthma is a typical respiratory dysfunction that causes irritation and obstruction of the airways, and frequent signs embody chest ache, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and mucus manufacturing.

Cocoa is believed to profit individuals with bronchial asthma resulting from compounds like theophylline and theobromine. Theobromine is taken into account just like caffeine, and it could assist relieve frequent bouts of coughing. Theophylline, then again, will assist dilate your lungs, scale back irritation, and loosen up your airways.

Animal research present that cocoa extract can lower each tissue thickness and constriction of the airways, and this means cocoa could also be used within the remedy of bronchial asthma.

9. Benefits Your Teeth and Skin

Quite a lot of research have explored the protecting results of cocoa towards gum illness and dental cavities. The antibacterial, immune-stimulating, and anti-enzymatic properties of cocoa might profit oral health general.

One examine revealed within the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2016 discovered that cocoa extract had considerably lowered dental cavities when in comparison with water. That being mentioned, since most cocoa merchandise comprise sugar, new cocoa merchandise with out sugar have to be developed to expertise the oral health advantages related to cocoa.

The polyphenols in cocoa have additionally been discovered to profit your pores and skin. Long-term cocoa congestion has additionally been discovered to enhance pores and skin blood circulation, contribute to solar manufacturing, and enhance the hydration and floor texture of your pores and skin.

Side Effects of Cocoa Powder

There are many simple health advantages of cocoa powder and darkish chocolate, and though it’s seemingly secure for most individuals, there are additionally cocoa powder unwanted effects to contemplate. For occasion, cocoa comprises caffeine and associated chemical compounds like theobromine that, in excessive quantities, might trigger caffeine-related unwanted effects like sleeplessness, nervousness, a quick heartbeat, and elevated urination.

Excessive cocoa consumption also can trigger constipation, diarrhea, gasoline, abdomen rumblings, intestinal ache, bloating, nausea, allergic pores and skin reactions, bleeding problems, blood sugar dysfunction, gastroesophageal reflux illness (GERD), and migraine complications.

Moreover, the caffeine in cocoa is related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), osteoporosis, anxiousness, and glaucoma.
On prime of that, overindulgence of chocolate is thought to trigger decreased bone density, kidney injury and problems, weight acquire, sleep disturbances, shakiness, jitteriness, neck ache, nervousness, swelling underneath the pores and skin, and irregular coronary heart rhythms. In addition, in case you are allergic or illiberal to dairy, make sure to learn labels and keep away from cocoa merchandise with milk.

Due to the caffeine in cocoa, pregnant or breastfeeding girls or girls making an attempt to turn into pregnant must also keep away from consumption of enormous quantities of chocolate or cocoa. However, darkish chocolate is taken into account secure for pregnant girls when consumed moderately.
Again, the caffeine in cocoa may work together with sure drugs and enhance the unwanted effects of those medicine. Many of those medicine can scale back how shortly the physique eliminates caffeine.

You will wish to keep away from cocoa powder and chocolate for those who take drugs together with: adenosine, clozapine, dipyridamole, ergotamine, lithium, phenylpropanolamine, antibiotics, contraception drugs, cimetidine, disulfiram, fluconazole, mexiletine, verapamil, bronchial asthma drugs like beta-adrenergic agonists, melancholy drugs generally known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and estrogen drugs like ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and equine estrogens.

Since an excessive amount of chocolate might enhance blood sugar, this may occasionally scale back the effectiveness of diabetes medicine as effectively.
Because of the above unwanted effects and drug interactions related to cocoa powder and chocolate, keep away from extreme quantities and seek the advice of your physician for those who eat cocoa powder or chocolate and additionally take any of the talked about drugs.

Final Thoughts on Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder and chocolate are on the record of favourite meals for many individuals. This could be a good factor, since cocoa powder and chocolate have many essential health advantages, together with sustaining blood stress, lowering the danger of stroke and coronary heart assaults, boosting HDL ldl cholesterol, bettering mind operate, lowering melancholy signs, bettering signs of sort 2 diabetes, benefiting pores and skin and enamel health, and treating bronchial asthma.

Many of the health advantages of cocoa powder are seemingly resulting from its spectacular diet profile. Cocoa powder is particularly excessive in protein, fiber, and minerals resembling iron, copper, magnesium, and manganese.

At the identical time, cocoa comprises caffeine and associated chemical compounds like theobromine, and in excessive quantities, it could trigger caffeine-related unwanted effects and drug interactions. Consult your physician to ensure your cocoa behavior isn’t inflicting any unwanted effects or interacting along with your prescription.

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