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Cocoa Powder: Benefits, Nutrition and Side Effects

Cocoa Powder


As soon as the name of cocoa powder comes to our mind, chocolate comes first. Cocoa powder has been used for making chocolate, cake and milk shakes. Cocoa powder also has various health benefits.

Don’t be surprised!! Several research found that regular and moderate use of cocoa powder can be beneficial in preventing everyday health problems and reducing their symptoms. For this reason, in this article, we are going to discuss the information related to cocoa powder based on research. Keep reading this article to know how the use of cocoa powder can benefit your body.

Before explaining the benefits of cocoa powder, we also make it clear that it is not a treatment for any disease, but it can be used to keep ourselves healthy and to protect from minor physical problems.


The powder made by grinding cocoa beans is called cocoa powder. It has significantly less fat and most individuals consider cocoa powder as chocolate, which is not right.

Cocoa Beans and Powder

Cocoa powder makes chocolate, but chocolate or ground it does not make cocoa powder. [Trusted Source 1]


According to Nutrition Data, per one cup (86 g) of unsweetened dry cocoa powder contains about —

  • 196 calories
  • 49.8 g total carbohydrate (17% DV)
  • 28.5 g fiber (114% DV)
  • 11.8 g total fat (18% DV)
  • 16.9 g protein (34% DV)
  • 110 mg calcium (11% DV)
  • 11.9 mg iron (66% DV)
  • 429 mg magnesium (107% DV)
  • 631 mg phosphorus (63% DV)
  • 1311 mg potassium (37% DV)
  • 18.1 mg sodium (1% DV)
  • 5.9 mg zinc (39% DV)
  • 3.3 mg manganese (165% DV)
  • 3.3 mg copper (163% DV)
  • 2.2 mcg vitamin K (3% DV)
  • 27.5 mcg folate (7% DV)


The benefits may include —

1. Oral Health:

Cocoa has been given the status of ‘Food of God’. There is a mention of this in a research by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Research says that cocoa powder can be used for many health problems. This study also mentions the use of cocoa for oral health. [Trusted Source 2]

On the other hand, tannin is found in cocoa, which may help to some extent in protecting teeth from caries or tooth decay. At the same time, caffeine and theobromine present in cocoa are also considered beneficial to prevent caries. Just keep in mind that only fat free cocoa can do this. [Trusted Source 3]

2. Weight Loss:

Consumption of cocoa is believed to control obesity. During a research in Indonesia, one group of overweight people was given capsules containing four grams of cocoa powder and the other group with one gram of cocoa powder.


According to the research, both groups recorded a decrease in their weight. Weight reduction was found around the stomach of those who consumed four grams of cocoa powder for eight weeks. According to the research, antioxidants found in cocoa increase the hormone called leptin in the body, which helps to control appetite. For this reason, cocoa powder is believed to be beneficial in weight loss. [Trusted Source 4]

3. Helps To Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases:

Cocoa powder has also been considered beneficial for preventing heart disease. Cocoa powder can help in reducing weight by preventing heart disease. Indeed, increased weight serves to increase the risk of heart disease.[Trusted Source 4]

Research published on the website of National Center for Biotechnology Information reveals that consuming natural polyphenols present in cocoa keeps the heart healthy.


In addition, flavanols present in cocoa ensure normal blood flow to the body. Research clearly states that cocoa should be consumed in 200 mg quantity for heart health. [Trusted Source 5]

Polyphenols are thought to be the cause of the positive cardiovascular effects present in cocoa. Increased nitric oxide in the body after its intake may show a potentially beneficial effect on endothelium function (thin membranes present inside the heart and blood vessels), blood pressure, insulin, and blood lipids. [Trusted Source 6]

4. Good For Brain and Memory:

Cocoa has also been considered beneficial for brain health. Research has found that the flavanols present in it may have the effect of increasing cognitive capacity. It can relieve fatigue and sleeplessness by improving brain function.

Cocoa has also been considered beneficial in removing the memory deficiency and the difficulty of understanding new things. For this reason, more research on cocoa on brain health is mentioned in the study. [Trusted Source 7]


At the same time, another research also mentions that flavonoids present in cocoa can help to improve brain function. Actually, it transmits blood to the neural tissue, which is better for the brain. [Trusted Source 8]

5. Reduce Inflammation:

Cocoa has anti-inflammatory properties. This property can work to control inflammation as well as to reduce it. Indeed, cocoa contains polyphenols, which exhibit this property. According to a research, polyphenols present in cocoa may help improve and reduce inflammation in the intestine. [Trusted Source 9]

Cocoa can also help to protect the nerves from inflammation and damage. Flavonoid DNA, such as procyanidins and catechins, can also help protect against inflammation and oxidative damage. [Trusted Source 10]

6. Reduces Asthma:

Natural cocoa powder, which is sweet is considered good for people with asthma. It contains anti-asthmatic compound theobromine and theophylline. Cocoa powder, which is prepared after removing cocoa butter, contains 1.9% theobromine. For this reason, cocoa powder is believed to help reduce asthma. [Trusted Source 11]


The same study also explicitly states that cocoa powder has been found to have anti-asthmatic effects, but whether it has a negative effect on a drug or not is unclear. [Trusted Source 11]

In such a situation, if a person is already taking any medicine, then please consult the doctor once before consuming cocoa powder.

7. Improve Mood And Prevent Depression:

The benefits of cocoa also include improving mood and relieving depression symptoms. Actually, cocoa contains flavonoids. These compounds are believed to help improve mood. [Trusted Source 11]


At the same time, polyphenols present in cocoa act as antidepressants in the body. [Trusted Source 12]

8. Prevent Diabetes:

Cocoa is also considered better for patients with diabetes, especially for those with type-2 diabetes. According to a study, flavanols present in cocoa may act to control type-2 diabetes. However, the study also clearly states that those who consumed cocoa to prevent type-2 diabetes should take caution.

In fact, many cocoa sold in the market have a low amount of flavanols and a high sugar content. This may increase glycemic levels in patients with type-2 diabetes. [Trusted Source 13]

In this case, it is important to note that cocoa powder purchased from the market does not contain sugar.

9. Cocoa Powder For Skin:

The use of cocoa powder helps to hydrate your skin, in addition, it also increases the density of the skin. According to research, it is beneficial for the skin due to the flavonols present in cocoa powder.


Along with hydrating the skin, this element can also help to protect the skin from solar radiation. It can also work to reduce the aging-effect in the skin and conditioning it due to photo—damage. This may help to reduce skin scaling and dryness. [Trusted Source 14]

10. Cocoa Powder For Hair:

Cocoa powder has also been considered better for hair. Cocoa powder has anti-inflammatory properties. This property may work to reduce scalp inflammation and dandruff. [Trusted Source 15] [Trusted Source 16]

At the same time, people believe that after applying cocoa powder to the hair, it absorbs the excess oil of the scalp.

healthy hair

However, there is no scientific evidence related to this.


Now, let’s know how to use cocoa powder —

  • Can be used to sprinkle over coffee
  • Can also be used when making brownies
  • Hot chocolate can be made using cocoa powder
  • Normal chocolate can also be made from cocoa powder
  • Smoothies are made from cocoa powder
  • Cocoa powder is also used to make face masks
  • You can also eat cocoa powder by mixing in curd
  • Cocoa powder is also used as a face scrub
  • It is also used to make tablets and capsules


There is no precise time when eating cocoa powder. It can be used at any time as a balance diet or to enhance the taste of coffee and other foods.

Cocoa Powder and Health


It can be used up to 200 mg (0.2 g) for inclusion in a balanced diet and for the benefit of cocoa powder. [Trusted Source 17]


Now the question is — why cocoa is bad for you? Cocoa powder can have its benefits as well as its disadvantages. Yes, while consuming in limited quantities it provides various health benefits, while consuming it in large quantities can also cause many side-effects.

  • Many cocoa powders available in the market have high amounts of sugar, which can increase the amount of glucose in the body. This can lead to diabetes

Cocoa powder contains more caffeine, which may cause some of the problems. [Trusted Source 18] [Trusted Source 19]

  • Anxiety
  • Heart beat
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent urination


Along with the benefits of cocoa powder, in this article we have also told about the disadvantages of excessive consumption. Remember that foods in moderate amounts can act like a medicine, when the quantity of the same food content is high, it can also leave harmful effects on the body. Also note that the benefits of cocoa powder can be greatest to the body only when it is not rich in chemicals and sugar.


  1. Cocoa and Health: A decade of Research, DOI: 10.1017/S0007114507795296 · Source: PubMed, Karen Cooper, Jennifer Donovan, Andrew Waterhouse, Gary Williamson
  2. Cocoa and Human Health: From Head to Foot-A Review, De Araujo QR, Gattward JN, Almoosawi S, Silva Md, Dantas PA, De Araujo Júnior QR; PMID: 24915376
  3. Theobromine: A Safe and Effective Alternative for Fluoride in Dentifrices, Tetsuo Nakamoto, Alexander U Falster, William B Simmons
  4. Effect of Cocoa on Body Weight, Waist Circumference and Visceral Fat Patient with Central Obesity, International Journal of Science and Healthcare Research, Volume: 3; Issue: 1; Jan.-March 2018, Sugirah Nour Rahman, Citrakesumasari, Nurpudji Astuti Taslim, ISSN: 2455-7587
  5. Cocoa and Heart Health: A Historical Review of the Science, U.S. Natioal Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, Deanna L. Pucciarelli, PMCID: PMC3820048, PMID: 24077240
  6. Cocoa and Cardiovascular Health, Roberto Corti, Andreas J. Flammer, Norman K. Hollenberg, and Thomas F. Lüscher
  7. Enhancing Human Cognition with Cocoa Flavonoids, Valentina Socci, Daniela Tempesta, Giovambattista Desideri, Luigi De Gennaro, Michele, Edited By : Mauro Serafini, Reviewed By : Alberto Finamore
  8. The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance, British Journal of Clinical pharmacology, Astrid Nehlig, PMCID: PMC3575938, PMID: 22775434
  9. Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Polyphenols: From Biology to Clinical Applications, Thea Magrone, Matteo Antonio Russo, and Emilio Jirillo, PMCID: PMC5465250, PMID: 28649251
  10. Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease, David L. Katz, Kim Doughty, and Ather Ali, PMCID: PMC4696435, PMID: 21470061
  12. Antidepressant-like properties of cocoa’s polyphenols The role of flavanoids and flavanols on depression, Hervé Javelot, Michael Messaoudi, Cecile Jacquelin, Nicolas Violle
  13. Effects of Cocoa Antioxidants in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Sonia Ramos, María Angeles Martín, and Luis Goya, PMCID: PMC5745494, PMID: 29088075
  14. Long-term ingestion of high flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women, Heinrich U, Neukam K, Tronnier H, Sies H, Stahl W; PMID: 16702322
  15. Cocoa Bioactive Compounds: Significance and Potential for the Maintenance of Skin Health, Giovanni Scapagnini, Sergio Davinelli, Laura Di Renzo, Antonino De Lorenzo, Hector Hugo Olarte, Giuseppe Micali, Arrigo F. Cicero, and Salvador Gonzalez; PMCID: PMC4145303, PMID: 25116848
  16. Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff: A Comprehensive Review, Luis J. Borda and Tongyu C. Wikramanayake, PMCID: PMC4852869, NIHMSID: NIHMS754376, PMID: 27148560
  17. Scientific Opinion on the modification of the authorisation of a health claim related to cocoa flavanols and maintenance of normal endotheliumdependent vasodilation pursuant, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
  18. Polyphenol-Retaining Decaffeinated Cocoa Powder Obtained by Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Extraction and Its Antioxidant Activity, Kinji Kobori, Yuto Maruta, Shigeru Mineo, Toru Shigematsu, and Masao Hirayama, PMCID: PMC5302282, PMID: 28239130
  19. Caffeine in the diet, Medline Plus

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