8 Health & Nutrition Benefits of Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is made by crushing cocoa beans and removing the fat or cocoa butter.
Today, cocoa is most famous for its role in chocolate production. However, modern research has revealed that it does indeed contain important compounds that can benefit your health.
Cocoa powder provides tons of benefits, especially if your powder is at least 72% cocoa. Here’s a look at some of the health benefits of cocoa powder:
1.Rich in Polyphenols
Polyphenols are naturally occurring antioxidants found in foods like fruits, vegetables, tea, chocolate and wine.
They have been linked to numerous health benefits, including reduced inflammation, better blood flow, lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Cocoa is one of the richest sources of polyphenols. It’s especially abundant in flavanols, which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
2.May Reduce High Blood Pressure
Cocoa, both in its powdered form and in the form of dark chocolate, may be able to help lower blood pressure.
This effect was first noted in the cocoa-drinking island people of Central America, who had much lower blood pressure than their non-cocoa-drinking mainland relatives.
The flavanols in cocoa are thought to improve nitric oxide levels in the blood, which can enhance the function of your blood vessels and reduce blood pressure.
3.Improve Blood Flow to Your Brain and Brain Function
Several studies have found that polyphenols, such as those in cocoa, may reduce your risk of neurodegenerative diseases by improving brain function and blood flow.
Flavanols can cross the blood-brain barrier and are involved in the biochemical pathways that produce neurons and important molecules for the function of your brain.
Additionally, flavanols influence the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes the muscles of your blood vessels, improving blood flow and blood supply to your brain.
4.May Improve Mood and Symptoms of Depression
In addition to cocoa’s positive impact on age-related mental degeneration, its effect on the brain may also improve mood and symptoms of depression.
The positive effects on mood may be due to cocoa’s flavanols, the conversion of tryptophan to the natural mood stabilizer serotonin, its caffeine content or simply the sensory pleasure of eating chocolate.
One study on chocolate consumption and stress levels in pregnant women found that more frequent intake of chocolate was associated with reduced stress and improved mood in babies.
5.Benefit Your Teeth and Skin
8 Health & Nutrition Benefits of Cocoa Powder.
Several studies have explored the protective effects of cocoa against dental cavities and gum disease.
Cocoa contains many compounds that have antibacterial, anti-enzymatic and immune-stimulating properties that may contribute to its oral-health effects.
Despite popular opinion, cocoa in chocolate is not a cause of acne. In fact, cocoa polyphenols have been found to provide significant benefits for your skin.
Long-term ingestion of cocoa has been shown to contribute to sun protection, skin blood circulation and improve the surface texture and hydration of your skin.
6.May Aid Weight Control
Somewhat paradoxically, cocoa intake, even in the form of chocolate, may help you control your weight.
It’s thought that cocoa may help by regulating the use of energy, reducing appetite and inflammation and increasing fat-oxidation and feelings of fullness.
7. Feel the Power
Cocoa contains a healthy amount of caffeine. This helps to boost energy and fight fatigue. Not only does it have a good amount of caffeine, but it contains magnesium as well. Two tablespoons of cocoa powder has about 14% of your body’s daily value of Magnesium. Magnesium has been found to keep your body energized naturally.
8. Wound Healing
Chocolate made with 90% cocoa contains plenty of zinc, a mineral that is useful for healing wounds.

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