Did you know that apart from producing one of the best desserts known to human kind, cocoa and cocoa solids like cocoa powder are great for your health too? Cocoa powder is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants known as flavonoids, all of which are very good for you .
What’s in cocoa powder?
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, cocoa powder contains minerals like calsium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc . Its vitamin arsenal includes Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin D and Vitamin K. Cocoa also contains copper and manganese, both of which are found in higher concentrations in powder than other cocoa solids products . Cocoa powder is also known to contain caffeine.
So, what are the ways in which cocoa is good for us?
1) General health and wellbeing
A study published in Antioxidants & Redox Signalling in 2011 found that cocoa powder is a rich source of antioxidants . The flavonoids in cocoa powder included catechin, epicatchein, and procyanidins, which are all prominent in antioxidant activity within the body. These elements affect biochemical cycles in the body and offer benefits in that manner. For example, the role of epicatechin in the production of nitric oxide provides benefits for the vascular endothelium.
Cocoa powder also has anti-inflammatory properties, which promote good cardiovascular health. Cocoa consumption also helps reduce insulin resistance, helping in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, and also helps stimulate redox-sensitive signalling pathways that help immune responses.
In addition to all this, cocoa is good for our nerves, our skin, and have positive effects on our moods and cognitive function. Of course, all these benefits can quickly become overshadowed when we consume too much chocolate instead of plain cocoa, as chocolate is energy dense and overconsumption can lead to weight-gain.
2) Cardiovascular Health
A study published in the journal Nutrients in 2014 examined the effects of cocoa consumption on cardiovascular health and found it to be beneficial. The study tested the efficacy of coca’s polyphenolic compounds in modulating cardiovascular health, and discovered that they play an important role in atherosclerosis. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties of cocoa are very beneficial to good heart health, according to the study
Cocoa, when consumed as cocoa powder, can be very beneficial for health as it is rich in antioxidants.