HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCOA POWDER

What makes chocolates more appealing rather than its taste? It is known as an indulgent confection for many and cocoa powder imparts the rich chocolate flavour to it and the presence of  polyphenols bestows with various health benefits. Cocoa is most commonly known for its wide use in chocolates , chocolate based products and in enriching  protein powders by imparting natural flavour to it.

Nutritive value of Cocoa powder

It is a great source of minerals and but not an optimal source of vitamins. Although it is a good source of protein, but doesn’t have high bioavailability as  the amino acid profile of it depicts that it has less of methionine and cysteine amino acids. It is high in fat 40-50% and out of which 5-10 % is mono or polyunsaturated fatty acids. 

Nutrients

*Per 100 gm

Energy

225 Kcal

Protein

18g

Fat

20g

Carbohydrate

45-55 gm

Fiber

25-35 gm

Polyphenols

7-18 g

Theobromine

2-3 g

Vitamin A

10-20 RE

Vitamin E

0.1-0.2 mg

Vitamin B 6

0.1 -.2 mg

Calcium

100-180 gm

Phosphorous

750-1000 mg

Magnesium

500-600 mg

Potassium

1500-2000 mg

 

*The value varies depending upon the time of harvest and variety of cocoa seeds.

 Health Benefits

  1. Antioxidant rich polyphenols :- the significant health benefits of polyphenols including catechin, epicatechin, and procyanidins predominate in providing antioxidant activity.  Majorly responsible for exhibiting reduced inflammation , improved blood flow and cholesterol  as well as sugar levels .
  2. Lowers blood pressure :- the presence of Flavanols in cocoa are believed to improve the functioning of blood vessels  by improving nitric oxide levels and hence reducing blood pressure. also, high level of potassium in cocoa helps lower sodium levels.(Ried et al).
  3. May lower risk of heart strokes :- the Flavanols improve blood flow and reduce cholesterol and reduces bad cholesterol. As per review of studies it has been found that chocolate consumption is associated with a significantly lower risk of heart stroke or attack.
  4. Reduce stress :- it exerts some positive effect on mood by reducing stress levels and improving calmness, contentment and promotes mental well being. This happens as it supports the conversion of amino acid tryptophan to hormone serotonin. Also, the presence of phenethylamine antioxidant elevates good mood.
  5. May reduce asthma symptoms :-  cocoa extract has demonstrated anti asthmatic properties due to presence of theobromine and theophylline which may help relax your airways and decrease inflammation.

The consumption of cocoa is predominantly in the form of energy-dense milk chocolates which are high in sugar and fat, so the potential ill effects of overconsumption is increased risk of weight gain. therefore, instead choose to have dark chocolates with more than 75% cocoa and less sugar. Also, use of protein supplement powder which have natural cocoa powder can be included by making smoothies or simply by reconstituting in water. Hence, consuming cocoa powder in moderation is the key to enjoy its health benefits.

References

Ried et al (2017).Effect of cocoa on blood pressure.CD008893. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008893.pub3.

 Rucker Robert (2009).Nutritional properties of cocoa.Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage.

 David (2011)Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease.ANTIOXIDANTS & REDOX SIGNALING

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