5 Health Benefits of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Most of you may have tried the sweet taste and delicate of chocolate. But how about cocoa powder? Have you ever know the benefits of unsweetened cocoa powder?
Indeed, chocolate is one of the most delicious and most popular candy. But the effects is believed unhealthy and make fat your belly. Well, that is not completely true. Chocolate is originally made from cacao. Cacao is proven has some beneficial for health.
From cacao there are some products that are produced. Chocolate and cocoa powder are ones of them. Chocolate is a processed food. Made by add many compounds such as sugar and syrup to sweeten the taste because the original taste of cacao fruit is rather bitter than sweet as chocolate you already know. The sugar and syrup maybe the things that will make your belly fat.
Otherwise, cacao powder –which is unsweetened– is another product of cacao fruit which through not so many processed like chocolate. Because it’s unsweetened maybe the taste will not as sweet as chocolate. But if you read this benefits below, it can make cocoa powder taste more delicious.
Before i explain those exiting benefits of unsweetened cocoa powder i’d like to inform you some nutrients which are contained.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder Nutrition Information
The table below show the nutrition information of one cup or 86 g weight of unsweetened cocoa powder. The percents daily used is based on a 2.000 calorie diet.
Table 1. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder Nutrition Information
|Amount Per Serving (86 g) contain 196 calories.|
|No.||Nutrient Name||Weight||% Daily Value|
1. Provide essential minerals (Provide Copper)
Unsweetened cocoa powder also provide some essential minerals such as calcium and potassium. As you know that calcium is an essential component of bones and teeth. Calcium and potassium can help your health your heart function, muscle contraction and nerve activity. In addition, potassium also have a role in your kidney function.
Not only provide calcium and potassium, unsweetened cocoa powder also provides an essential mineral called copper. According to the Institute of Medicine, in 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder contain 410 micro-grams of copper which is 45 percent of recommended daily value. Five big benefits of copper are:
- Strengthen your connective tissues because it produce mature collagen
- Promote your body metabolism
- Boost your energy
- Play good role in nervous system function
- Produce melanin –a pigment in your hair, eye, and skin.
2. Source of phytonutrients
Phytonutrients are natural chemicals which produced by plants to provide health benefits that has been proven scientifically. One of study published in the “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2008 explain the benefits of the flavanols in the cocoa, there are:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve blood vessels, and
- Improve blood cell function
There have been also some research that study the benefits of unsweetened cocoa powder to help curing diseases such as cancer. But it’s still not proven yet and need more investigation.
3. Boost Fiber
It’s been researched that in 2 tablespoon serving of cocoa contains 3.6 grams of fiber, 25 calories, and 1.5 grams of fat. According to Institute of Medicine, those contents is approximately 14% of the recommended daily value for women or 9% of the recommended daily value for men. It’s also 8% of recommended daily value of iron and 14% of recommended daily values of magnesium.
Fiber intake is needed for your body to:
- Control you meal portion
- Fight constipation
- Sanify cardiovascular
- Reduce a risk of cardiovascular disease , and
- Reduce high cholesterol
4. Provide Antioxidants
Some of you perhaps like to drink red wine after dinner, some others may prefer a cup of afternoon tea and rest may choose hot cocoa as a morning boost. Actually three of them have the substance of antioxidants in their cup but which is having the most?
Science Daily explain that the hot cocoa may the healthiest of among the three. They also state that the antioxidant boosting effect in the cocoa also can help cancer patients, people who have heat disease, and prevent aging.
However it’s only raw, unsweetened cocoa powder which have this booster effect. The most commercial cocoa powder remove the antioxidant-containing flavonoids so that it won’t taste bitter.
5. Provide Antidepressant
Who have watched Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban maybe remember when Prof. Lupin gave Harry a piece of chocolate after the Dementor attact to calm him down. Yes. J.K Rowling seems to know very well the antidepressant effect of chocolate.
There’s another writer, Elson Hass, who writes “Staying Healthy With Nutrition,”. He knows better about this. In his book there’s a point that explain the substance phenethylamine is contained in cocoa. If you don’t know what is phenethylamine is, it’s a neurotransmitter which is found in human brain. It has role as a mood booster and also some natural antidepressant.
Cocoa also have some happiness booster. The University of Michigan Health System (UMIM) have proven the ability of cacao to boost endorphin which can produce a feeling of happiness and serotonin which control happiness level.
If you count the benefits of each substance which contained in cocoa powder you may have more than a dozen benefits now. Even though the taste may make your tongue a bit screaming (the bitter taste caused of antioxidants) . But don’t worry.
You can always make a smart way. Just pairing cocoa powder with your healthy home-mad foods and healthy natural sources of sugar. You can add cocoa powder to your non-fat milk as well. And voila! Your have the equal delicious taste as the delicious benefits.
The last information i wanna give you is actually cocoa powder also contain caffeine which can possibly give negative effect. You must already heard the effects of caffeine in your coffee cup. The most spoken of this effects is caffeine can make your eyes open all night (for people who are caffeine-sensitive).
Beside caffeine, cocoa also contain oxalates (read : Caffeine Side Effects). High oxalates level may cause kidney stone. Therefore, both cocoa and chocolate are very not recommended for people who are prone to kidney stones.