What are the benefits of raw cocoa powder?

Have you ever sat down with your favourite Super Cubes frozen smoothie and thought to yourself, I wonder what are the benefits of raw cocoa powder? We have and so has Serena, so here is all you need to know about cocoa and how to use it in your own recipes.

Most people would say they love chocolate, but do you ever hear someone say that they love cocoa?

Cocoa makes up a large portion of dark chocolate and is what gives chocolate its flavour.

The more cocoa that is used in food, the more cocoa’s richer and distinct bitter flavour is noticeable.

For instance, the average dark chocolate bar would contain more than 70% cocoa, which means it can have quite an intensely bitter flavour for you.

While the cocoa taste might not be for everyone, I know you’ll love it as an ingredient in your chocolate bar or in the Super Cubes choc banana frozen smoothie cubes.

When cocoa is used in a blend with sweeteners and various other ingredients, the flavour can be subtle and perfectly balanced and then you wouldn't even be thinking about the bitter taste of the cocoa powder that comes from the cocoa bean.

As a random fact for you, did you know, that depending on the origin and type of plant alters the flavour notes of the cocoa?

Let's stop ourselves from drooling and craving chocolate and get cracking into the health benefits of cocoa.

Yes, you heard correctly, the health benefits of cocoa.

A little history about the cocoa bean

The cocoa bean has been around for thousands of years and its exact origin is unknown (a bit like the Pepsi Max, tuna and berry digest smoothie Super Cubes recipe).

There is evidence of South American cultures, Aztecs and Mayans using the cocoa bean in food and drinks for medicinal and traditional religious purposes.

But it wasn't until the Western Europeans got their hands on the bean around the mid-1500s where cocoa was transformed into the sweeter indulgent treat that we know today.

Throughout time cocoa has been used as currency, medicine as well as its use in food and as early as 46AD the cocoa bean has been consumed by humans.

Carl Linnaeus in 1753 named cocoa "Theobroma cacao" which translates to ‘The Food of the Gods’.

Need I say more on this topic and the immense effect cocoa had on history?

The benefits you need to know about cocoa

It has been known throughout history that cocoa has a beneficial effect on our bodies and mind.

While there is an abundance of information out there on the nutrients and health benefits of consuming cocoa, I’ll only run through a few below as I don't want to be held fully responsible for your chocolate consumption.

Cocoa beans naturally contain a range of different types of compounds, but for the purpose of light reading, I’ll stick to flavanols and polyphenols for you.

You don't have to remember those names but you should know the importance of including a variety of flavanols and polyphenols in your diet and the role they play within our bodies.

Per 100 grams, cocoa contains more flavanols than an apple!

The role of flavonols in the body

  • Helps protect our cells
  • Supports healthy blood flow
  • Improve insulin regulation
  • Supports heart health
  • Flavanols can boost cognitive function by improving the communication within normal memory processes
  • Cocoa contains the highest concentration of flavanols per weight compared to other foods

A few more potential benefits of polyphenols for you

  • High in antioxidants
  • Contributes to better blood flow
  • Can help reduce inflammation
  • Helps increase resistance to oxidative stress

If you weren't a fan of cocoa before you are now, right?


The nutrient value of cocoa

As you can see below, cocoa contains essential minerals that help act as co-factors to support our immune system, growth and also development.

To calculate the level of nutrients in 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder (which is 5.5 grams), just divide the 100 gram levels below by 18 (you still might need a calculator or your phone).

Cocoa nutrients per 100 gram serve
Energy kcal 525
Protein 25g
Fat 25g
Carbohydrates 50g
Fibre 25g
Calcium Ca 250mg
Iron Fe 18mg
Magnesium 400mg
Phosphorus P 500mg
Potassium K 900mg
Sodium Na 0mg
Fatty acids total saturated 25g
Cholesterol 0mg

Why add cocoa to the Super Cubes smoothie cubes?

Even though we have outlined the health benefits of pure cocoa powder, above this information is only scratching the surface of how amazing this ingredient really is.

Raw cocoa powder is used in the choc banana smoothie cubes due to the high antioxidant levels, its mineral content and more.

Cocoa as a powder, with no added sugar, can be used and added to a variety of foods as it is a nutritional dense flavouring option.

If you’re looking for a bit extra, you could add in some extra cocoa and 1 extra tablespoon of nut butter to your smoothie and let your taste buds have a party!

There’s been a lot of thought put into creating the Super Cubes formulas and while they may taste delicious, health is the main focus during the developmental stages.

How do choc banana cubes taste so good without added refined sugar?

The combination in these smoothie cubes of banana, dates and oats creates a creamy chocolate smoothie flavour and texture for you.

If you’re having a smoothie in the morning breaks in the office or creating the perfect breakfast smoothie, I suggest adding in a little extra cocoa in to the blend to kick-start your brain for the rest of the day.

How I incorporate cocoa in my cooking

A few of my favourites (as I prefer to have my cocoa in the morning) is adding cocoa to my porridge or into my breakfast protein pancake mix.

If cooking with cocoa is new to you, I suggest adding a sprinkle or tip of the teaspoon until you find the perfect amount required for your taste buds.

You can find 100% cocoa powder to buy in most health food stores as well as in the supermarkets (support the ones that support Super Cubes here), just try looking in the cooking section.

So you have a few options above to get you daily cocoa fix if you need.

You can choose to add cocoa into your meals (where suitable) or you can just reach for a few choc banana smoothie cubes for your next smoothie recipe creation!

It’s that easy really.

If you do create a delicious smoothie recipe using the frozen smoothie cubes be sure to tag Super Cubes in your post on social media too.

Author | Serena Schembri
Nutritionist Serena brings the fun back to nutrition and into writing for Super Cubes too.
With over 15 years in the health and wellness industry, she has shared her wealth of knowledge, love for cooking, tips and recipes (including smoothie recipes) with many people.
Serena’s positive and realistic approach to food teaches you that eating a healthy and balanced diet doesn’t need to be restrictive, boring and that it's achievable!

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