What Are the Benefits of Cocoa Powder?

Cocoa powder comes from beans that are seeds in the fruit of the cocoa
plant. Dark or semi-sweet chocolate has the highest percentage of cocoa powder, which has several possible benefits even from a moderate use. These include supporting the immune and cardiovascular systems and improving a person’s mood.

Low-Calorie

Unsweetened cocoa powder has fewer than 20 calories and 5 gm. of carbohydrates per serving. You can add cocoa powder to coffee to give it a more appealing taste, and you can use it for baking. Diabetics and people watching their weight can have 1 tbsp. up to three times a day.

Aids Blood Flow

Cocoa powder can improve blood flow, according to the American Dietetic Association. Better blood flow could aid cognition and also create a sense of calm. Increased blood flow also could improve complexion by keeping the skin hydrated and healthy.

Antioxidant

Cocoa powder contains flavanols, which may help prevent heart disease, stroke and cancer, according to the American Dietetic Association. Flavanols act as antioxidants and reduce the presence of free radicals. This can lead to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. To receive the maximum antioxidant benefits, aim for a high cocoa percentage. Dark chocolate can range up to 70 percent cocoa powder, but that can be too strong for some people. You can still receive the benefits from 50 percent or 60 percent cocoa powder content.

About this Author

Ashley Schwader is a certified personal trainer through ACE and a certified Pilates and group instructor through AFAA. Her background includes personal training, nutrition, weight management, corporate wellness, and health promotion. She earned a Bachelor of Science in health and exercise science, from Colorado State University.