January 15

Cocoa Powder: Health Benefits, Nutritional Facts & Recipes

By Fitness Blog

January 15, 2022


Cocoa Powder: Health Benefits, Nutritional Facts & Recipes HealthifyMe Blog HealthifyMe Blog - The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.

The origin of cocoa lies in pre-Columbian South America. The Spanish Conquistadors launched it to Europe in the course of the age of exploration. Later, steam-powered tools enabled the distinguished manufacturing of cocoa powder within the 1850s. Each 12 months, folks worldwide devour almost 4.5 million tonnes of cocoa. The commonest type of cocoa that individuals use is cocoa powder. It is simple to make use of and might add flavour to any dish. 

Cocoa beans produce cocoa powder derived from the Theobroma cacao L plant. Chocolate is made primarily from cocoa beans, however it may also flip into cocoa powder. The powder supplies quite a few well being advantages.

Nutritional Facts of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

The dietary contents in 10g  of unsweetened cocoa powder:

  • Calories – 22 kcal
  • Carbohydrate – 2.5 g
  • Fat – 0.7 g
  • Protein – 1.4 g

Other vitamins (quantity in % day by day worth)

  • Iron – 4 %
  • Calcium- 1 %
  • Potassium- 2%

Cocoa powder is a nutrient-dense meals that comprises a excessive focus of minerals.

10 Health Benefits of Cocoa Powder

1. Helps stop High Blood Pressure

Cocoa, both in powdered type or as darkish chocolate, could assist lower blood stress. This impact was first noticed amongst Central American cocoa-drinking islanders, who had a decrease blood stress than their non-cocoa-drinking mainland cousins. 

The flavanols in cocoa improve nitric oxide ranges within the blood, enhance blood vessel operate and decrease blood stress. One analysis checked out 35 research that gave sufferers 0.05–3.7 ounces (1.4–105 grams) of cocoa items or 30–1,218 mg of flavanols. It grew to become a big discovery that cocoa generated a minor however important drop in blood stress of two mmHg. Furthermore, the impact was extra substantial in individuals who already had hypertension than in those that didn't and in older adults in comparison with youthful folks.

However, it’s essential to understand that processing dramatically reduces the variety of flavanols, so the consequences are unlikely to be noticed within the peculiar chocolate bar that's manufactured after heavy processing.

2. Rich in Anti-oxidants

Polyphenols are antioxidants which are naturally current in fruits, greens, tea, chocolate, and wine. They have varied well being benefits, together with decreased irritation, enhanced blood circulation, decrease blood stress, and decrease ldl cholesterol and blood sugar ranges. Cocoa is without doubt one of the most considerable sources of polyphenols. It’s excessive in flavanols, which have potent antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties.

In one randomised research experiment, forty-two people got 40 grams of cocoa powder every day for 4 weeks. They had important will increase in HDL and important decreases in oxidised LDL ranges. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is protecting towards cardiovascular threat, however oxidised LDL is a considerable threat issue.

3. Improves coronary heart well being

Besides lowering blood stress, cocoa seems to produce other qualities that will assist reduce your coronary heart assault or stroke threat. For instance, flavanols in cocoa improve the quantity of nitric oxide in your blood. As a consequence, it relaxes and dilates your arteries and blood vessels, growing blood circulation.

Additionally, cocoa serves as an indicator of decrease “bad” LDL ldl cholesterol, acts equally to aspirin in blood thinning, improves blood sugar management, and reduces irritation. These traits scale back the chance of coronary heart assault, coronary heart failure, and stroke.

An assessment of 9 research demonstrates that elevated chocolate consumption could significantly decrease the chance of coronary heart illness, stroke, and mortality. The analysis concerned 157,809 folks. Furthermore, two Swedish studies found that consuming as much as one serving of 0.7–1.1 ounces (19–30 grams) of chocolate per day could lower the chance of coronary heart failure. 

These findings suggest that consuming small quantities of cocoa-rich chocolate regularly could profit the guts.

4. Improves Brain Health

Numerous studies have found that polyphenols current in cocoa could assist decrease your likelihood of creating neurodegenerative issues. They do it by enhancing mind operate and blood circulation.

Flavanols can go the blood-brain barrier and are engaged within the metabolic processes chargeable for producing neurons and different crucial molecules. These assist enhance mind operate. Additionally, flavanols stimulate the synthesis of nitric oxide, which relaxes the blood vessel muscle tissues, growing blood circulation and blood provide to the mind.

A two-week trial of 34 older adults on high-flavanol cocoa discovered that after one week, blood circulation to the mind rose by 8% and by 10% after two weeks. Additional research signifies that day by day consumption of cocoa flavanols could enhance psychological efficiency in each wholesome and mentally impaired people.

These research recommend that cocoa has a helpful affect on mind well being and should positively have an effect on neurodegenerative diseases reminiscent of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 

5. May Improve Mood and Depression Symptoms

Cocoa’s affect on the mind might also improve temper and signs of melancholy. In addition, it additionally has beneficial results on age-related psychological deterioration.

According to at least one study, elevated chocolate consumption throughout being pregnant signifies much less stress and improved temper in infants. Furthermore, one other study revealed that consuming chocolate with a excessive polyphenol content material elevated calm and happiness. Likewise, research of aged males revealed that chocolate consumption was related to improved normal well being and psychological well-being.

The flavanols and caffeine focus contribute to its temper enhancement properties. In addition, it helps convert tryptophan to the pure temper stabiliser serotonin. You might also expertise the sensory pleasure of consuming chocolate. All these elements contribute to its good temper advantages.

6. May Improve Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

While extreme chocolate consumption is undoubtedly detrimental to blood sugar regulation, cocoa gives anti-diabetic properties.

Test tube studies present that cocoa flavanols inhibit carbohydrate digestion and absorption within the abdomen. In addition, they assist improve insulin manufacturing, lower irritation, and speed up sugar transport from the circulation into the muscle.

Few studies have demonstrated that growing your consumption of flavanols, particularly these present in cocoa, could lower the chance of kind 2 diabetes. Additionally, a review of human analysis discovered that consuming darkish chocolate or cocoa excessive in flavanols will help enhance insulin sensitivity and blood sugar administration and scale back irritation in each diabetic and non-diabetic people.

Nonetheless, these findings, along with extra substantial proof of its advantages on coronary heart well being, recommend that cocoa polyphenols could profit each stopping and managing diabetes.

7. Promotes weight reduction

Somewhat paradoxically, cocoa consumption, even within the type of chocolate, could provide help to management your weight. It aids in weight reduction by controlling power consumption, reducing starvation and irritation. In addition, it additionally helps improve fats oxidation and emotions of fullness.

According to inhabitants research, individuals who consumed chocolate extra frequently had a decrease BMI than others. Although the previous group ingested extra energy and fats, that they had a decrease BMI.

Additionally, weight-loss research using low-carbohydrate diets found {that a} group consuming 42 grams of 81% cocoa chocolate per day misplaced weight extra rapidly than a bunch on a regular weight-reduction plan. So, general, it's secure to say that cocoa and cocoa-rich merchandise could assist scale back or keep weight. 

8. Have Cancer Protective Properties

Test-tube research on cocoa elements reveals that they've antioxidant properties. As a consequence, they shield cells from reactive chemical harm, fight irritation, prohibit cell improvement, set off most cancers cell loss of life, and forestall cell unfold.

Animal trials using a cocoa-rich weight-reduction plan or cocoa extracts confirmed promising ends in the prevention of breast, pancreatic, prostate, liver, and colon cancers, in addition to leukaemia.

Human studies additionally reveal that flavanol-rich diets could decrease most cancers threat. Little human analysis on cocoa and most cancers reveals that it may be a potent antioxidant and should assist stop most cancers. However, extra research is required to strengthen this declare.

9. Beneficial for Asthma

Asthma is a continual inflammatory sickness that causes airway blockage and irritation and might be deadly. Cocoa is appropriate for folks with bronchial asthma as a result of it comprises anti-asthmatic chemical substances.

Theobromine, which is corresponding to espresso, could assist with continual coughing. For instance, 1.9 grams of theobromine is current in 100 grams (3.75 ounces) of cocoa powder. Theophylline widens your lungs, relaxes your airways and reduces irritation. In addition, the cocoa extract has diminished airway constriction and tissue thickness in animal experiments.

10. Skin and Teeth Benefits

Cocoa has a wide range of antibacterial, anti-enzymatic, and immune-stimulating chemical substances that will contribute to its helpful results on dental well being.

In one study, animals contaminated with oral micro organism given cocoa extract exhibited a considerable lower in dental cavities in comparison with rats given merely water.

Contrary to frequent perception, cocoa in chocolate doesn't promote pimples. Instead, cocoa polyphenols present appreciable pores and skin benefits. For instance, cocoa consumption on a long-term foundation demonstrates elevated UV safety, higher blood circulation, and floor smoothness and moisture.

Ways to Include Cocoa in Your Diet

1. Eat darkish chocolate 

Ensure that it is top of the range and contains a minimum of 70% cocoa to get the perfect outcomes.

2. Smoothies

You could add cocoa to your favorite wholesome smoothie recipe to reinforce its chocolate flavour.

3. Puddings 

You can add uncooked cocoa powder (not Dutch) to selfmade puddings reminiscent of chia breakfast puddings or rice pudding.

4. Hot/chilly Cocoa

To make a chocolate milkshake, mix Cocoa together with your selection of dairy or nondairy milk.

5. Vegan chocolate mousse

For a decadent vegan chocolate mousse, mix avocado, Cocoa, almond milk, and a sweetener reminiscent of dates.

6. Sprinkle over fruit

Cocoa is insanely scrumptious when dusted on bananas or strawberries.

7. Granola bars

To improve the well being advantages and flavour of your favorite granola bar recipe, add Cocoa.

Healthy Recipes Using Cocoa Powder

1. Vegan Chocolate Banana Shake

  • Preparation Time – 5 minutes
  • Serves – 2 folks

Ingredients:

  • Coconut milk – 1 cup
  • Cocoa powder (unsweetened) – 2 tablespoons 
  • Avocado (peeled) – ½ 
  • Bananas (frozen) – 2

Method:

  1. In a blender jar, mix all substances within the order listed. Close the lid and set the dial to Speed 1. Gradually improve the velocity to excessive. Blend for 30 seconds or till completely clean. Do not over mix, or the shake will start to soften.
  2. Add a splash or two of coconut milk if the shake turns into too thick. Serve instantly in 1 or 2 massive glasses.
  3. Chef’s Tip: Add a teaspoon of agave nectar or sliced date to extend sweetness. For the perfect chocolate flavour, use a high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder.

2. Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Muffins

Cocoa Powder: The Delicious Food with Several Health Benefits- HealthifyMe
  • Total Time – 40 minutes
  • Serves – 10 folks (1 every)

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat pastry flour – 1 1/2 cups
  • Cocoa powder (unsweetened) – 1/4 cup 
  • Baking powder – 2 teaspoons 
  • Fine floor sea salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Non-fat milk (any selection) – 3/4 cup
  • Non-fat plain Greek yoghurt – 1/4 cup
  • Egg (massive) – 1
  • Raw sugar – 1/2 cup 
  • Pure vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon 
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – 1/4 cup 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 levels Celsius. Spray 10 slots in a regular 12-muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Then, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. In a big mixing bowl, mix the milk and yoghurt. Next, whisk within the egg, adopted by the sugar. Then, add within the vanilla extract.
  4. Add the dry substances to the moist elements in a gradual, regular stream, stirring till all the pieces is blended. Finally, mix the chocolate chips utilizing a spatula.
  5. Fill roughly 3/4 of the muffin slots with batter. Bake for quarter-hour, or till a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clear. Allow it to chill for five minutes.
  6. Remove from the pan and luxuriate in.

Possible Side Effects of Cocoa Powder

Eating cocoa is normally secure for most individuals. However, cocoa comprises caffeine and associated chemical substances. Thus, consuming massive quantities of cocoa powder would possibly trigger caffeine-related unwanted side effects reminiscent of nervousness, elevated urination, sleeplessness, and a quick heartbeat. In addition, cocoa could trigger allergic pores and skin reactions and set off migraine in some folks. It may also trigger nausea, abdomen discomfort, constipation, and gasoline. 

Furthermore, making use of cocoa butter is primarily secure for folks. However, it might trigger rashes on some folks’s pores and skin. Hence, all the time do a patch take a look at earlier than making use of it to the face.

Cocoa Powder: Precautions

1. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Although cocoa is secure in being pregnant and breastfeeding, it's best to devour it carefully. Therefore, monitoring your consumption of cocoa is important. Excess consumption could also be dangerous as a result of cocoa comprises caffeine. Some studies recommend that prime caffeine doses could result in untimely supply, miscarriage and low start weight. 

Experts advise 200mg of caffeine per day throughout being pregnant. But, it's best to be aware that cocoa merchandise comprise 2-35 mg of caffeine per serving and a cup of sizzling chocolate supplies roughly 10 mg of caffeine.

Caffeine might also be a problem throughout breastfeeding. The focus of caffeine in breast milk is half the extent of caffeine within the mom’s blood. Hence, extra consumption of cocoa by moms could result in gastric points in infants.

2. Anxiety

A study suggests that prime caffeine consumption generally is a threat issue for nervousness and melancholy. However, it's primarily as a consequence of overconsumption. So, overconsumption of caffeine can worsen nervousness situations. 

3. Bleeding Disorders

Cocoa can gradual blood clotting. However, consuming quite a lot of cocoa would possibly improve the chance of bleeding and bruising in folks with bleeding issues.

4. Heart Conditions

The caffeine in cocoa would possibly trigger irregular heartbeat in some folks. Therefore, folks with coronary heart situations ought to use it cautiously.

5. Diarrhoea

Excess consumption of the caffeine in cocoa can worsen diarrhoea. Therefore, it's best to all the time devour it carefully. In addition, in case you are affected by diarrhoea, it's higher to keep away from cocoa consumption to steer clear of caffeine. 

Other Precautions

  • Overconsumption of cocoa could worsen the signs of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux illness). 
  • The caffeine in cocoa will increase stress within the eye and needs to be used cautiously in folks with glaucoma.
  • Caffeine may also improve blood stress in folks having blood stress points. 
  • Cocoa would possibly set off migraines in delicate folks.
  • The caffeine in cocoa would possibly improve calcium launch within the urine. Therefore, folks with osteoporosis ought to use it cautiously.
  • Cocoa would possibly intervene with blood sugar management throughout and after surgical procedure. Therefore, it's best to cease consuming cocoa a minimum of two weeks earlier than a scheduled surgical procedure.
  • Cocoa from darkish chocolate can improve coronary heart fee. In addition, consumption of cocoa could worsen the irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia situation.

Conclusion

Cocoa powder is an extremely nourishing meals filled with vitamins. It helps enhance the well being of our coronary heart, bones, digestion, pores and skin, and hair, to call a couple of. In addition, cocoa powder enhances bodily and psychological well-being whenever you devour it in its natural, unsweetened type. To keep away from any detrimental penalties from extreme use and reap the well being advantages of cocoa powder, keep in mind to devour it carefully. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Can I eat cocoa powder on daily basis?

A. Yes, you may eat uncooked cocoa powder day by day. Regular consumption can present varied well being advantages, together with diminished irritation and safety towards coronary heart illness, most cancers, and diabetes. However, it's best to devour it reasonably in its uncooked type.

Q. Why is cocoa powder horrible for you?

A. Moderate consumption of uncooked cocoa powder is just not dangerous for you. However, overconsumption could result in a number of points. Cocoa has caffeine and associated chemical substances, and its overdose may cause agitation, elevated urination, sleeplessness, and a speedy heartbeat. In addition, in the event you devour its processed type (an everyday chocolate bar), it's possible you'll achieve weight as a result of the processed chocolate bars comprise excessive sugar.  

Q. How a lot cocoa powder ought to I eat on daily basis?

A. According to the European Food Safety Authority, the really useful day by day consumption worth is 0.1 ounces (2.5 grams) of high-flavanol cocoa powder. In easy phrases, you shouldn’t devour greater than 4 to 6 teaspoons of uncooked cocoa in a day.

Q. Is cocoa powder good to your pores and skin?

A. Yes, it has important pores and skin advantages. For instance, it improves the pores and skin texture, hydrates your pores and skin, protects it from solar harm, and helps blood circulation. 

Q. Can you eat cocoa powder uncooked?

A. Yes, you may add uncooked cocoa powder to your meals. However, be sure that you eat carefully. Also, to reinforce the style, it's possible you'll sprinkle it on fruits or puddings. In addition, it's also possible to add it to your smoothies.

Q. Does cocoa provide help to sleep?

A. Yes, it may well provide help to sleep. That is as a result of it comprises tryptophan, a sleep-inducing compound. The finest strategy to have cocoa earlier than bedtime is to drink cocoa milk. However, devour cocoa carefully because it comprises excessive ranges of caffeine and disrupts your sleep cycle.

Q. What occurs in the event you drink cocoa on daily basis?

A. Daily consumption of cocoa supplies us with helpful compounds reminiscent of flavonols, a sort of flavonoid. As a consequence, it may well assist stop coronary heart illness by reducing blood stress, bettering blood circulation, and defending cells from harm. In addition, in the event you drink cocoa milk utilizing almond milk, it may well provide help to sleep higher as a result of each cocoa and almond milk comprise tryptophan, a sleep-inducing compound.

Q. Which cocoa powder is finest?

A. The processed types of cocoa could also be dangerous as a result of they comprise extra sugar and components. Therefore, it's best to make use of unsweetened uncooked cocoa powder. Then, you may add it to varied recipes and reap all its advantages.

Q. Is cocoa higher than espresso?

A. Yes, it's more healthy than conventional espresso. Coffee comprises the next quantity of caffeine and is extra acidic than cocoa. However, overconsumption of caffeine in any type can result in opposed results.

Q. Is it affordable to drink sizzling cocoa earlier than mattress?

A. Yes, consuming sizzling chocolate earlier than going to mattress might be enjoyable. That is as a result of cocoa could assist with temper enhancement, stress discount, and antioxidant well being advantages. It may also provide help to sleep as a result of it comprises tryptophan, a sleep-inducing compound.

Q. Can I apply cocoa powder on my face day by day?

A. To obtain the perfect results, apply it as soon as per week. First, mix the cocoa powder and water in a saucer to make a paste. Next, apply it on the face and later rinse with lukewarm water. It will exfoliate your face and add glow to it. In addition, it's wealthy in antioxidant properties. As a consequence, it'll assist get you rid of free radicals and restore your pores and skin.

Q. Is cocoa good for hair progress?

A. Yes. Cocoa powder is wealthy in nutritional vitamins and minerals which promote hair progress. These embody magnesium, zinc, and calcium. As a consequence, it helps struggle hair loss and promotes wholesome hair progress.

Q. Does cocoa trigger pimples?

A. No, consuming chocolate doesn't trigger pimples. Instead, uncooked cocoa powder comprises vitamin A, C, E and zinc, helpful to your pores and skin. For instance, cocoa powder prevents pores and skin harm and improves pores and skin texture and so on. 

Q. How can I exploit cocoa powder?

A. You can use cocoa powder in a wide range of methods. For instance, you may devour darkish chocolate, drink cocoa-based smoothies or sprinkle it on fruits and puddings. In addition, you may apply it to the face as a face pack and apply it to your hair to nourish your scalp.

Q. Is cocoa powder good for kidneys?

A. Yes, based on analysis revealed within the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, consuming a cocoa product could assist sufferers with kidney failure enhance their blood vessel operate.

Q. Is cocoa appropriate for folks with diabetes?

A. Yes, a assessment of human research discovered that consuming darkish chocolate or cocoa excessive in flavanols will help folks with diabetes enhance their insulin sensitivity and blood sugar management. In addition, it additionally helps scale back irritation.

Q. Is cocoa powder nutritious?

A. Yes, it's wealthy in minerals like iron, zinc, selenium, and magnesium. It can also be filled with theobromine which reduces irritation and protects you from coronary heart illness, most cancers, and diabetes.

Q. Is cocoa powder wealthy in protein?

A. No, the quantity of protein present in cocoa seeds is comparatively minor. For instance, each 100 grams of cocoa comprises 20 grams of proteins. 

Q. Is cocoa excessive in copper?

A. Yes, darkish chocolate is excessive in copper. 1 tbsp of cocoa powder has 3.79 mg of copper. Copper will help make new pink blood cells, regulate mind functioning, and improve power within the physique. 

Q. Is 100% cocoa chocolate good for you?

A. Yes, however the flavour is just too intense. Dark chocolate with 70-80% cocoa is equally helpful and has a greater style. However, it's best to make use of unprocessed cocoa powder as a result of different kinds could comprise additional sugar and components, which will not be very wholesome to your physique.

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