Cocoa trees, which were domesticated in South America about 5,000 years ago, can now be found in equatorial regions around the world. Cocoa powder is obtained from the cocoa beans found in the fruits of the cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao), which is a member of the Malvaceae (hibiscus) family, which can vary between 4 and 15 meters in length. There are 20-40 seeds in the fruits. After the fruits are harvested, the seeds are removed by hand, fermented, dried, cleaned, roasted, crushed, removed, the remaining parts are ground, finely powdered. Depending on the fermentation and drying time, the type of processing, the cocoa powders obtained can be of different varieties, their colors, textures, flavors and flavors may vary.
From cocoa beans, cocoa butter, “cocoa nib” and the lesser known cocoa powder substitute cocoa powder are obtained with the exception of cocoa powder. Cocoa beans, fermented with cocoa nibs, are crushed after their shells are broken and then crushed into small particles. Cocoa powder and cocoa beans that will become “cocoa nibs” are not roasted at high temperatures, they are processed at low temperatures and then pulverized. Cocoa powder is processed more at a higher temperature than cocoa powder. Dairy products, sweeteners, emulsifiers and sugar can be added. Cocoa powder is less bitter than cocoa but loses some of its nutritional value during processing. Cocoa powder is quite bitter, but more preserves the original nutritional value of the beans. Cocoa powder can be a healthier alternative for recipes that require cocoa powder. The differences between “cocoa powder” and “cocoa powder” will be discussed in more detail in the next article.
Nutrients in Cocoa
Cocoa powder provides more nutrients than cocoa powder and can make recipes healthier. Cocoa powder is also an excellent source of iron, protein, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Two tablespoons of cocoa powder contains 130 calories, 7 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, without sugar. Flavanols are also high in cocoa products. Studies have shown that flavanols support a wide range of health benefits, from reducing fatigue and weakness to improving heart health, cognitive function, and regulating blood pressure.
Health Benefits of Cocoa Powder
The fiber in cocoa powder supports healthy digestion and can reduce the risk and symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and other digestive problems. Here are some other cocoa powder benefits:
Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease: The circulatory system is responsible for transporting nutrients, water, and oxygen to every cell in the body through its complex network of blood vessels, arteries, and capillaries. The heart, brain, skin, liver, eyes, immune system, digestive system and more need healthy blood flow to function properly. This is also important for exercise performance and recovery. With all this in mind, it is not surprising that heart-related diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The potassium content in cocoa powder is also high. Potassium has been shown by research to lower the risk of heart disease by reducing body inflammation and stress on cells. Cocoa is an easy way to get flavanols, part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, and support heart health. The flavanols in cocoa contribute to cardiovascular health, flexibility of arteries and healthy blood circulation.
Reduces Fatigue and Fatigue: Researchers tested the use of flavanol-rich cocoa in 40 adult patients who drank a cup of hot chocolate every day for six weeks. Participants were given a flavanol-rich hot chocolate or a low-flavanol version made with cocoa powder. Those given the high flavanol cocoa drink experienced a 45% increase in alertness and an 80% increase in walking speed, according to tests. While more studies are needed, the results show that cocoa can help reduce fatigue and fatigue in the body. In addition to its high flavanol content, cocoa powder is also rich in magnesium, a cofactor for more than 350 enzyme reactions in the human body, most of which are involved in energy metabolism. Increasing your magnesium intake is an easy and natural way to reduce fatigue and weakness.
Supports Intestinal Health: Cocoa powder contains 33% fiber, which stimulates the body’s digestive enzymes and helps the absorption of nutrients, improves digestive function and intestinal health. Fiber can also aid weight management, as it helps you feel fuller for longer.
Reduces Inflammation: The flavonoids in cocoa powder can help reduce inflammation in the body. Reduced inflammation can lower the risk of certain cancers, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Lowers the Risk of Diabetes: The flavonoids in cocoa powder can reduce the risk of diabetes by helping to increase insulin sensitivity.
Promotes Muscle Development: Every cell in the human body contains protein, so it is essential to consume it daily to repair cells and support the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. Cocoa is an excellent and natural source of protein for those who want to increase their protein intake and for vegans and vegetarians who do not get enough protein in their diets. The potassium in cocoa helps support normal muscle function. Cocoa powder can be mixed with banana into a smoothie to be drunk before or after exercise.
Stress Reliever: One study found that eating dark chocolate can help reduce anxiety, positively affect mood and relieve symptoms of depression. The study compared the consumption of chocolate with depressive symptoms in 13,000 US adults. Those who ate dark chocolate in the last 24 hours were 70% less likely to report feelings of depression. The magnesium and potassium in cocoa powder are essential for normal psychological function and functioning of the nervous system. Therefore, adding cocoa to your daily routine will help combat stress, relax and maintain a sense of calmness.
Feels Good: In addition to preventing feeling stress, cocoa actively makes the person feel happier. Cocoa powder contains a powerful blend of beneficial natural compounds, including serotonin, endorphins, phenylethylamine (a compound people make when they fall in love), tryptophan, and anandamide. All of these have been shown to improve mood and induce feelings of euphoria.
Lowers Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is one of the most important cardiovascular risk factors worldwide, and many of those who have it often use drug therapy to control it. However, this is not the only option. Flavonoids in cocoa powder have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and prevent blood clots. The relationship between cocoa and blood pressure was first found in a study in the town of Zutphen in the Eastern part of the Netherlands, where 470 older men were monitored for 15 years. Those who consumed the most cocoa had a 50% relative reduction in the risk of lower blood pressure, cardiovascular and other mortality (death). Since then, various random diet studies have shown that blood pressure can be significantly reduced in those who consume cocoa every day compared to those who do not consume cocoa. Potassium in cocoa also contributes to blood pressure being within normal limits. Cocoa powder also contains an amino acid called arginine that helps relax blood vessels.
Increases Brain Power: The flavonoids in cocoa and chocolate have been shown to have a positive effect on the brain and help improve various cognitive and visual tasks. This is the result of more efficient blood flow to different nerve tissues that regulate and control body functions and activity. A study in healthy volunteers showed that blood flow to the brain increased just 5 days after consuming high flavanol cocoa.
Anti-Aging: Cocoa not only improves thinking skills, but also contains antioxidants that help regress cognitive decline in the aging process. Also, studies have shown that a diet rich in flavonoids can help reduce the risk of dementia. It is not only internal organs that can benefit from the anti-aging properties of cocoa, the polyphenol antioxidants found in cocoa protect cells from premature oxidation or destruction, making them look and feel younger. Body peels containing cocoa powder can be prepared at home and used after shower for a refreshed body and face.
Beneficial For The Skin: In addition to its heart health benefits, cocoa powder is a natural source of antioxidants that the skin loves. Antioxidants help neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals on the skin, increase collagen production, increase cellular healing and prevent signs of aging. In one independent study, after consuming the high flavanol cocoa powder for 6 weeks, those in the study saw a 21% increase in skin hydration. Well moisturized skin is better protected against external factors and has a smooth, healthy and shiny appearance.
How Can Cocoa Powder Be Used?
Cocoa powder is similar to cocoa powder in its taste and function, but is generally more nutritious. Many vegan dessert recipes require cocoa powder due to its minimal processing and nutrient density. Cocoa powder looks almost the same as cocoa powder and can be used in the same way. Although cocoa powder is not as sweet as it, it can be used instead of cocoa powder in recipes in equal amounts. Cocoa powder also absorbs more liquid than cocoa powder, so it may be necessary to increase the measurement of liquid ingredients in a recipe. Cocoa powder can be used to make brownies, cakes, muffins, cookies, biscuits and other chocolate desserts just like cocoa powder. Here are a few ways to use cocoa powder:
It can be sprinkled over peanut butter on toasted bread.
It can be used as an ingredient in homemade hot cocoa blend.
– Normal yoghurt or strained yoghurt can be added while being consumed.
For a deeper flavor, it can be added to hot chocolate, for example, with a small amount of red, hot chili powder.
It can also be used in oatmeal mix.
– To prevent sticking, cocoa powder can be sprinkled on the bottom of brownie and cake baking molds or trays instead of flour.
Other Ways to Use Cocoa
Frozen Yogurt Plates: Cocoa powder can be added while preparing yogurt layers that contain fruit or nuts, which are frozen in the form of flat layers that are not too thick. Depending on the preference, different fruits, dark chocolate chips, nuts and seeds can be used in its production.
Smoothies: It can be mixed with smoothies, sprinkled with breakfast, or included cocoa as a nutritious alternative in cooking recipes.
Hot Cocoa: Hot cocoa or hot chocolate is a healthy classic beverage prepared with cocoa powder. To make a healthy hot chocolate, two teaspoons of cocoa powder can be mixed with hot milk and sweetened a little if necessary. Lovers of intense aroma can also add vanilla and cinnamon.
How to Preserve Cocoa Powder?
Cocoa powder should be kept away from moisture so that it does not lose its flavor. It should be stored in dry and tightly closed, airtight containers.
Since its taste is strong, it should be added in small amounts to bakery products and foods such as cakes and cookies to be cooked at home. Cocoa powder adds chocolate flavor to cakes, brownies, biscuits and cookies, sauces, milk desserts. Since there is no milk and fat in cocoa powders, it is rich in terms of beneficial substances compared to chocolate bars. It contains 4 times more antioxidants than a regular dark chocolate.
Cocoa Also Includes Caffeine
Two tablespoons of cocoa powder contains about 50 grams of caffeine, which is about half the caffeine that can be found in an average cup of coffee. Those who are sensitive to caffeine should keep this in mind. Although cocoa powder is often used as a substitute for cocoa powder in recipes, replacing the powders does not automatically make a recipe healthy. When preparing recipes containing cocoa powder, attention should still be paid to the amount of sugar and unhealthy fat.
Writer: Muserref Ozdas