Learn 8 Health Benefits of Cocoa Powder on Cocoa Day

Whether you’re baking or making a hot drink, if you want to add a chocolatey flavor, choose cocoa powder. Not only is it delicious, it’s also healthy. It is rich in protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc and has many health benefits. As Cocoa Day is celebrated in the United States on December 13th, let’s learn about the health benefits of cocoa powder.

What is cocoa powder?

Nutritionist Ekta Singhwal says cocoa powder is a product extracted from cocoa beans that has been processed to remove most of the cocoa butter.

Cocoa powder is good for your heart. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the health benefits of cocoa powder?

Cocoa powder not only makes your coffee taste better, but it also has many health benefits.

1. Antioxidants

Cocoa powder contains flavonoids and polyphenols, which are antioxidants found in foods such as chocolate, fruits and vegetables. They help neutralize free radicals in the body, says Singvar.

2. Heart health

Eating foods rich in naturally occurring polyphenols, including cocoa, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a 2017 study published in Frontiers. In addition, the flavonoids in cocoa may promote cardiovascular health by improving blood flow, lowering blood pressure, and supporting healthy cholesterol levels.

3. Improve mood

Cocoa contains compounds that may stimulate endorphin production. This may help improve your mood and reduce stress.

4. Improve cognitive function

Experts say the flavanols in cocoa are linked to enhanced cognitive function. This means it can help you learn and help improve memory.

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5. Mineral content

Cocoa is a good source of essential minerals such as magnesium, iron and potassium. They play a vital role in various body functions. They support a healthy immune system and aid in muscle function, among other things.

6. Anti-inflammatory properties

Certain compounds in cocoa may have anti-inflammatory effects. As a result, it may help prevent chronic disease, experts say.

7. Blood sugar regulation

Cocoa helps regulate blood sugar levels due to its flavonoid content. Therefore, it offers potential benefits to those at risk for diabetes.

8. Skin health

The antioxidants in cocoa can promote skin health by preventing oxidative stress. This helps promote overall skin vitality.

How to add cocoa powder to your diet?

Now that it’s winter, you can make a cup of hot cocoa using unsweetened cocoa powder and warm milk. Other ways to add cocoa powder to your diet include:

  • Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder to your favorite smoothie or shake for a delicious chocolate flavor.
  • Mix cocoa powder into your morning oatmeal for a delightful chocolate flavor.
  • Use cocoa powder in cookie, cake, or brownie recipes to enhance the chocolate flavor.
  • Start your day by stirring cocoa powder into yogurt or a bowl of porridge.

You can enjoy cocoa powder by adding a little chocolate. But make sure it’s dark chocolate with mostly unsweetened cocoa.

chocolate milk
You can add cocoa powder to milkshakes or smoothies. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the side effects of cocoa powder?

Singwal says cocoa powder is generally considered safe when consumed in moderation, such as a few times a week. But be careful as there may be some side effects such as:

caffeine sensitivity
allergic reaction
Potential interactions with medications
Digestive discomfort, especially if too much cocoa is consumed.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns, it is best to consult your doctor first. Additionally, be aware of added sugars and overall dietary balance when consuming cocoa powder.

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