Benefits of Cocoa Powder, Benefits of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Benefits of Cocoa Powder, Benefits of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. Cocoa powder is made from Cacao beans which are the fermented seeds of the cacao tree (Latin name ‘Theobroma cacao’ which means ‘Food of the Gods’). The cacao beans are picked and fermented and then dried, roasted and ground to a paste. Cocoa butter is extracted from this paste leaving behind the powder which is cocoa powder.
This cocoa powder since ages has been a principal baking ingredient. Right from cakes and brownies to biscuits and fudge and even in Indian sweets, cocoa powder finds a place. You can reach out for cocoa to whip up a chocolate shake or create your own magical chocolate flavoured ice-cream as well. Learn more culinary benefits of cocoa powder.
Apart from the delectable, rich flavour it lends to desserts, it comes packed with a few surprising health benefits too. Let’s study the nutrition facts of cocoa powder before scanning its nourishing attributes.
7 Super Health benefits of Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened
1. Cocoa Powder is Rich in Polyphenols : Polyphenols are naturally occurring antioxidants mostly found in fruits, vegetables, chocolate, tea and wine. Cocoa is also one of them. It is rich in polyphenols like flavonoids, catechins and epicatechins. These show anti-inflammatory effect as well help the body get rid of harmful free radicals and thus reduce the onset of various chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Want to try a healthy power packed cereal for breakfast using cocoa powder? Try out Chocolate Cinnamon Granola Mix.
Chocolate Cinnamon Granola Mix
2. Cocoa Powder May Lower Blood Pressure : The presence of flavonoids in cocoa is known to increase the production of nitric oxide which in turn helps to relax the blood vessels and maintain normal blood pressure. This helps to reduce the chances of stroke too.
3. Cocoa May Benefit Diabetes : While too much of chocolate isn’t good for diabetes at all, small amounts of cocoa powder have been proven to reduce insulin sensitivity and improve blood sugar control. The credit here again goes to flavonoids. However despite the promising results, some studies have negated the effect as well.
While more research is to be directed in this field, sweets made with small amounts of unflavoured cocoa powder like Eggless Chocolate Pudding and Chocolate Sandesh can be enjoyed by diabetics occasionally.
Eggless Chocolate Pudding
4. Cocoa Powder Possess Mood Boosting Capacity : Cocoa powder has been identified as mood elevator because of its capacity to stimulate brain to release ‘endorphins’ as well the neurotransmitter ‘serotonin’ which kicks off the depression giving you a feeling of happiness. This is the same reason why some people find nibbling on chocolate a way to promoting a feeling of positivity.
An interesting way of including cocoa powder is by way of Chocolate Almond Milk. Just whip it and sit back and enjoy it.
Chocolate Almond Milk, Healthy Vegan Breakfast Recipe
5. Cocoa Powder Fosters Heart Health : Some random trials with cocoa powder have exhibited reduction in the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body making it good for heart. Moreover, the high fiber content (5 g per ¼ cup) may foster an increase in HDL (good cholesterol). Both these together help to diminish the clogging of arteries and thus reduce the risk of heart disease.
6. Cocoa Powder is Low in Calories : A tbsp of cocoa powder is just about 10 calories and 0.6 g of fat. Additionally it abounds in fiber (1.4 g / tbsp) which is well-known for its satiety value. So weight watchers should not have a reason to avoid including cocoa powder in their diet.
Try our tried and tested version of healthy balls – Date and Nut Coconut Cocoa Balls for healthy snacking.
Date and Nut Coconut Cocoa Balls
7. Cocoa May Have Cancer Protective Properties : The high concentration of antioxidant flavonoids may contribute to reduce inflammation and increased resistance to cancer cell growth. However these studies are mostly animal based and more human based studies are yet to be initiated in this field.
Nutritive Information for Cocoa powder:
¼ cup of cocoa powder is about 15 grams
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Energy – 34 calories
Protein – 3.1 g
Carbohydrate – 8.6 g
Fat – 2 g
Fiber –5 g
See full nutritional details of cocoa powder in Cocoa powder glossary click here.
Some Concerns Over Cocoa Powder
While Cocoa powder has captivated the world with its culinary use and health benefits, it does have some undesirable characteristic which are also worth considering. Some of them are….