You might know cocoa powder as that tasty, chocolatey substance you add to cookies, cakes and, of course, a hot cup of cocoa. But did you know it actually has health benefits, too?
Well, it’s true.
Cocoa powder isn’t just a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. It’s also a way to lose weight, decrease blood pressure and improve health on the whole.
How Cocoa Powder Can Benefit You
Though cocoa powder is certainly a sweetener, when used in moderation, it can offer your body a slew of health benefits that just can’t be denied.
Cocoa powder can:
- Increase fat metabolism – Supplementing your diet with raw, organic cocoa powder can actually improve your body’s ability to metabolize fat and use it as energy. In fact, according to a 2005 study in Nutrition magazine, when rats were fed real cocoa as a part of their diet, they exhibited significantly lower rates of fatty tissue than rats that weren’t.
- Help you lose weight – Cocoa can help boost your weight loss results in a number of ways. First, it helps stimulate serotonin production in the brain. This chemical regulates your mood and helps suppress your appetite, which means you’ll consume less calories in the long run. Additionally, cocoa is naturally low in calories, with a mere 90 per serving. This makes cutting calories – and losing weight – a breeze.
- Ward off diseases and health conditions – According to research from Harvard Medical Schools, populations that have a high intake of raw cocoa powder have extremely low rates of cancer, heart disease and stroke, three of the biggest health problems plaguing our world today.
- Improve heart health – Cocoa powder can have numerous benefits on the heart, lowering blood pressure, increasing blood flow and warding off high cholesterol. It also raises good cholesterol levels (HDLs), thins your blood and fights off plaque formation and build-up. That means a lower chance of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and more.
- Boost your immune system – Studies show that cocoa powder can also improve your immune system, helping you fight off infection, disease and other adverse health conditions. In some people, it can even be used to treat cancer.
- Detox the body – Cocoa powder has a high fiber contact, which helps keep your digestive system properly process and remove waste and toxins from your body. Cocoa powder is also full of flavonoids, natural antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals and other harmful substances.
- Decrease inflammation – A new study by Louisiana State University shows that cocoa powder can actually lead to an anti-inflammatory response – particularly in the digestive tract. Cutting down on inflammation in this area reduces bloating and improves overall bodily function.
- Improve nails and hair – Because of its high sulfur content, cocoa powder can actually improve your hair and nails, too. It can help them grow faster and improve their overall strength and durability in the long run.
- Better your mood – Raw cocoa powder is also known to be a natural mood enhancer. It contains both anandamide and phenylethylamine, both of which induce euphoria, act as an aphrodisiac and boost overall mood.
On top of all this, cocoa powder can also relieve constipation, slow signs of aging and provide stress relief. And who doesn’t want benefits like that?
Where to Get it
Now you might be tempted just to buy a bar of chocolate from the store and throw it into your morning smoothie, but the truth is, these products don’t offer the same health benefits as pure, raw cocoa powder does.
Most store-bought chocolates contain additives, oils and extra sugars, which basically negate any and all health benefits that may have once existed. If you want the full health impact, invest in pure cocoa power from your local health food store instead. Make sure to look for raw, organic versions, which should have a very dark brown hue and bitter taste to them.
How to Eat it
The easiest way to eat cocoa powder is to mix it into a milk substitute, like coconut or almond milk, and drink it warm. Be sure to avoid real dairy with it, as this inhibits affects your body’s ability to absorb the cocoa’s nutrients.
You can also add some to your morning oats, mix some with some honey and add it to your smoothie, or use it in a hearty sauce or soup for an extra kick.
The Bottom Line
Of course cocoa powder isn’t a miracle cure for health or weight problems. When eaten in moderation, however, and combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise and careful portion control, it can offer you many, many health benefits in the long run.
Have you tried raw cocoa powder? What are you favorite ways to eat it? Share your ideas in the comments.
Don’t forget to share this article with all the people you love, so that they can also benefit from this amazing natural ingredient.
Together we can make this world a happier, healthier world!