Home Blogs Herbs Cocoa: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

Cocoa: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

By NS Desk | Herbs | Posted on :   08-Dec-2020

Cocoa, the only word that comes to our mind when we hear the word "chocolate," is gaining more popularity around the globe as it is being recognized for numerous other benefits it can provide apart from satisfying our sweet tooth. Known as the "Food of the Gods," Cocoa has been termed as one of the superfoods that can help improve our body's longevity. The seeds of Cocoa are also used in the formulation of cosmetics and soaps due to the presence of its moisturizing and antioxidant properties. Cocoa is being used in a variety of substances, and with an increase in research evidence towards its positive impact on the human body, its usage is expected to grow as well in the future.

The origin of Cocoa: From where it all started?

As we know, the cocoa powder is derived from the cocoa bean, which is the seed of the cacao tree. It is a tropical plant indigenous to equatorial regions of America. From cocoa beans, the fluid paste is extracted and dried from which cocoa powder is made. As we see in chocolates, it is the very base which has made people crave for chocolates, even more, the added health benefits are an added extra incentive for the person to have more.

Cocoa helps in contributing to various factors in human lifestyles by facilitating weight loss through boosting metabolism. It helps in maintaining a healthy heart by decreasing cholesterol levels and managing blood sugar levels by improving glucose metabolism. The cocoa powder, when consumed with hot milk, can yield maximum benefits.

Synonyms of Cocoa and its source

Cocoa is also known as Theobroma cacao scientific terms. It is also known as Kakkavo and Kokkoo in Tamil. Cocoa is grown from cocoa beans, which is a plant-based source from the Cacao tree.

How is Cocoa beneficial for us?

  1. In dealing with Obesity

Modern Science View

Ayurvedic View

Cocoa helps in aiding weight loss due to Polyphenols' presence, which reduces the synthesis of fat cells by improving energy utilization in cells. It also invokes a feeling of fulness that helps in controlling appetite.

A person increases weight gain due to unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle, which results in a weak digestive fire. This leads to the accumulation of Ama that causes an imbalance in meda dhatu. By inducing a feeling of fullness in the stomach, Cocoa can help in managing weight better. This is also due to its Guru (heavy) property present that increases time for digestion and reduces hunger for food while also maintaining weight. 

For people experiencing obesity, one should consume cocoa powder as following.

  • Take 1/4tsp of cocoa powder.
  • Add it to 1 glass of milk.
  • Add stevia powder or brown sugar as per preference.
  • For optimal results, it is ideally recommended to have at least once or twice a day.

For people dealing with heart disease

Modern Science View

Ayurvedic View

Cocoa helps manage your heart health by decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease, thanks to the presence of flavanols. It acts as a vasodilator for coronary arteries and helps in managing hypertension and blood pressure.

 

It also acts as a strong cardioprotective agent due to various antioxidants and other anti-platelet properties.

Cocoa helps in reducing the risk of heart disease. Imbalance of Pachak agni (Digestive fire) leads to high cholesterol, and excess production of waste products or Ama is caused due to impaired digestion at the tissue level. This leads to the accumulation of blood vessels and blockage in blood vessels. 

 

Cocoa, with the help of its Ushna (hot) potency, it can help in improving digestive fire and also help in recalibrating your digestive system. As a result, improved digestive fires help in reducing amma, resulting in decreased cholesterol levels and blockages in blood vessels.

For people dealing with Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Modern Science View

Ayurvedic View

Cocoa has been found beneficial in managing high blood pressure, with the presence of flavonoids in milk chocolate helps decrease blood pressure and reduce oxidative stress. Another compound is known as Polyphenols, primarily found in dark chocolate, which also helps in reducing blood pressure and stress. It also vasodilates arteries that help in managing blood pressure.

 

It has also been found that occasional consumption of Cocoa, either in the form of chocolate or milk, can decrease blood pressure and protect the heart membrane and blood vessels.

For people with Diabetes mellitus (Type 1 & Type 2)

Modern Science View

Ayurvedic View

Cocoa has been found beneficial in managing diabetes. Cocoa can also fight against free radicals and improve insulin sensitivity; all this is possible due to flavonoids.

Cocoa helps in improving endothelial function and glucose metabolism. It has also been shown to contribute towards the formation of new pancreatin β-cells and insulin secretion.

According to Ayurveda, diabetes, also known as Madhumeha, happens due to Vata's aggravation and impaired digestion. This leads to the accumulation of Ama in pancreatic cells, impairing the function of insulin. Consumption of Cocoa helps in correcting impaired digestion due to the presence of Ushna (hot) properties, leading to a reduction of Ama.

For people experiencing diabetes, one should consume cocoa powder as following.

  • Take 1/4tsp of cocoa powder.
  • Add it to 1 glass of milk.
  • Add stevia powder or brown sugar as per preference.
  • For optimal results, it is ideally recommended to have at least once or twice a day.

For people experiencing fatigue

As per modern science, people experiencing chronic fatigue syndrome can find some relief while consuming Cocoa. With the presence of polyphenols in Dark Chocolate, they show positive results in reducing fatigue and helps in improving bodily functions.

For people having diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

As per modern science, Cocoa has been found in managing Parkinson's disease. With flavonoids present in Cocoa, it leads to a reduction in the decrease of brain cells. Also, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Cocoa can help protect nerve cells against damage caused by free radicals. Caffeine, one of the popular compounds found in Cocoa, has a neuroprotective effect. Consumption of Cocoa helps in promoting memory and cognition.

For people having Asthma

Modern Science View

Ayurvedic View

Asthma is a chronic condition that is associated with symptoms such as inflammation and bronchoconstriction. This leads to excessive production of mucus. Cocoa comes into the picture by dilating these bronchial tubes. It helps in reducing inflammation and prevents excessive mucus production.

As per Ayurveda, there is mainly two dosha involved in Asthma, namely Vata and Kapha. The unbalanced amount of Vata and Kapha in the lungs obstructs respiratory passage, which leads to difficulty in breathing. This is known as Swas Roga or Asthama. Consumption of Cocoa can help in balancing vata and managing respiratory problems by reducing kapha. This is done due to the presence of Ushna (hot) property in Cocoa.

For people experiencing asthma, one should consume cocoa powder as following.

  • Take 1/4tsp of cocoa powder.
  • Mix it with 1 glass of milk
  • Add stevia powder or brown sugar as per preference.
  • For optimal results, it is ideally recommended to have at least once or twice a day.

For people experiencing bronchitis

As per Ayurveda, Bronchitis, also known as Kasroga, is associated with poor digestion. Factors such as poor diet and incomplete elimination of waste lead to Ama's formation in the form of mucus in the lungs. Consuming Cocoa can help in improving digestion and eliminate waste, forming mucus in the lungs. This helps to relieve patients from bronchitis.

For people experiencing bronchitis, one should consume cocoa powder as following.

  • Take 1/4tsp of cocoa powder.
  • Mix it with 1 glass of milk
  • Add stevia powder or brown sugar as per preference.
  • For optimal results, it is ideally recommended to have at least once or twice a day.

For people experiencing inflammatory bowel disease

Modern Science View

Ayurvedic View

According to modern science, Cocoa can benefit people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. It helps in reduces inflammation in the intestine due to the presence of polyphenols that has anti-inflammatory properties. Cocoa also helps in improving stool consistency.

As per Ayurveda, Cocoa can help in managing inflammatory bowel disease by improving the digestive fire of the body. In, Inflammatory bowel syndrome is also known as Grahani, which is caused by an imbalance of Pachak Agni (digestive fire) and helps control the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.

For people experiencing inflammatory bowel disease, one should consume cocoa powder as following.

  • Take 1/4tsp of cocoa powder.
  • Mix it with 1 glass of milk
  • Add stevia powder or brown sugar as per preference.
  • For optimal results, it is ideally recommended to have at least once or twice a day.

  For people dealing with wrinkles

According to modern sciences, applying Cocoa can help in removing wrinkles. Since wrinkles are caused by frequent exposure to UV light and aging leads to productions of free radicals, flavonols, and polyphenols, the active components in Cocoa are rich in antioxidant properties. Cocoa helps in protecting skin against UV light, improving skin tone and elasticity. Hence it helps in preventing early aging and wrinkle formations

What precautions must be taken while consuming Cocoa?

Experts have the following opinions about Cocoa:

According to Modern science experts:

A person should avoid Cocoa if he/she is suffering from anxiety as it contains caffeine, which may act as a stimulant; it can also trigger migraines in sensitive people. Consumption of Cocoa should be avoided if you have bleeding disorders. People experiencing glaucoma should avoid consuming Cocoa. It is better to avoid Cocoa for people having osteoporosis. A persona having diarrhea should not consume Cocoa as it can worsen the symptoms.

According to Ayurvedic Experts:

Since Cocoa is Ushna (hot) in nature, it should be avoided by a person who is experiencing a migraine.

Minor Medicine Interaction

According to Modern science experts:

  • People consuming antibiotics should avoid consuming Cocoa. Better take advice or consult a physician before consuming Cocoa.
  • If a person is consuming contraceptives, it is better to consult a doctor before consuming Cocoa
  • It is better to avoid Cocoa if a person is taking anti-ulcer drugs. Consulting with a doctor is essential before taking Cocoa with anti-ulcer drugs.
  • If consuming antifungal drugs, a person should avoid taking Cocoa as it can decrease the absorption of antifungal drugs. Hence it is generally advised to consult a doctor before having Cocoa with antifungal drugs

Moderate Medicine Interaction

According to Modern science experts:

A person consuming anti-depressants should consult a doctor before consuming Cocoa, as it can increase anti-depressants' consumption.

If a person has diabetes

According to Modern science experts:

Since Cocoa can alter your blood sugar levels, it is advisable to monitor your blood sugar level while taking Cocoa with anti-diabetic medicines.

According to Ayurvedic Experts:

It is better to avoid Cocoa if someone has a high blood sugar level due to Guru (heavy) nature cocoa has, which can slow down metabolism and lead to an increase in blood sugar level

If a person Is having heart disease

According to Modern science experts:

Cocoa can increase blood pressure. Hence it is advisable to consult a doctor before consumption and monitor your blood pressure if consuming Cocoa with hypertensive drugs

It is recommended to monitor your heart rate while consuming Cocoa with antiarrhythmic drugs since it may increase your heart rate.

According to Ayurvedic Experts:

Due to the presence of Ushna (hot) and Guru (heavy) properties, it is better to avoid Cocoa if someone has high blood pressure as it can increase your heart rate.

Allergy

According to Ayurvedic experts,

if your skin is hypersensitive or allergic, it is best to use cocoa powder with honey or rose water. Since it has Ushna (hot) properties, it can cause an allergic reaction to your skin.

Are there any side effects of Cocoa? What is the recommended dosage?

According to modern science, there has been evidence observed by consuming Cocoa. This involves increased urination, sleeplessness or insomnia, feeling nauseated, feeling of rumbling in the stomach. Hence it is advised to consume it in moderation whenever preferred. For optimal consumption, it is safe to consume ¼ tsp of cocoa powder a day.

Best way to consume Cocoa:

Cocoa Milk

  • Take one glass of hot milk
  • Add ¼ tsp of cocoa powder
  • Add sugar, jaggery, or stevia as per your preference.
  • Stir well

Cocoa powder for face

  • Take 1 tsp of cocoa powder
  • Mix 1 tsp of honey
  • Stir well until a paste is formed
  • Apply on your face and let it rest for 20 mins
  • Wash your face with lukewarm water
  • For best results, use this remedy twice a month.

Cocoa for moisturization

  • Take 4-5 drops of cocoa essential oil.
  • Add coconut oil
  • Gently massage it on your body.
  • This remedy is preferred in winters for moisturization of the skin.
  • For better results, massage twice a day.

Is Cocoa really effective?

  1. Cocoa is highly effective for a person with hypertension (high blood pressure) as the compounds in Cocoa help regulate blood pressure and reduce oxidative stress while also protecting the heart membrane.
  2. Cocoa is likely ineffective for a person with high cholesterol. 
  3. There is no sufficient evidence found whether Cocoa is effective for patients with Asthma, Diabetes mellitus (Type 1 & Type 2), Constipation, Fatigue, Heart disease, Diarrhea, Inflammation of the airways (bronchitis), Inflammatory bowel disease, Obesity, Parkinson's disease, Stretch Marks, Insect bite and Wrinkles.

Commonly asked questions about Cocoa:

Q. What types of Cocoa are available in the market?

Cocoa is available in the market in many forms, but the two most natural forms are Powder and Bean. They are easily available in the market under various brands such as Cadbury powder, Weikfield powder, Hershey’s Cocoa, etc. You can choose the product according to your requirement.

Q. How much consumption of Cocoa powder is optimal to take per day?

According to the European Food Safety Authority, it is advisable to consume around 2.5g of Cocoa powder per day to manage heart health.

Q. What is the type of chemical composition found in Cocoa?

Cocoa contains various minerals such as calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and sodium. All of them are found in greater quantities in Cocoa powder than in any other form.

Q. How many calories are present in 1 gram of Cocoa powder?

Every 1g of cocoa powder has 2 calories.

Q. Does Cocoa help in improving brain function?

According to modern science, consumption of Cocoa powder can help improve brain function due to the presence of certain neuroprotective constituents, which decrease the rate of cells degenerating in the brain. These constituents help in maintaining the activity of the brain and improve memory & cognition.

As per Ayurveda, brain activities are controlled by Vata, and Cocoa has Vata balancing properties that can improve brain function.

Q. Is Cocoa bad for teeth?

No, since Cocoa inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, it is good for teeth.  Cocoa helps in preventing the enzyme responsible for plaque formation. Cocoa and chocolate have an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory activity that prevents dental caries and serious gum infections. However, this is a negative consequence, as well. Chocolates on teeth can be harmful due to the high concentration of sugar in it.

Q. Can we use cocoa powder in hair?

Cocoa powder helps in controlling hair loss due to the presence of magnesium in it. Magnesium provides shine, volume, and promotes hair growth. Cocoa powder is also added in hair masks as an ingredient that is used to improve blood circulation in the scalp and enhance hair growth.

Q. Are there any benefits of Cocoa butter?

Cocoa butter has a good amount of fatty acids, which helps hydrate and nourish the skin and improve skin elasticity. The constituents present in Cocoa butter improve the blood flow in the skin. It helps in protecting against the harmful UV rays and slows down the process of skin aging.

Q. Can the consumption of Cocoa powder worsen acne?

Due to a lack of scientific evidence available to support the role of Cocoa powder in acne, it is, however, used in cosmetics as an ingredient to treat acne.

Q. What are the benefits of Cocoa powder for skin?

According to modern science, cocoa powder has various benefits for the skin due to its presence of antioxidant substances. This helps in fighting against free radicals and prevents cell damage, thereby improving skin texture, making it look young. It also increases the blood flow in the skin and maintains proper skin health.

As per Ayurveda, Cocoa powder can help maintain the glow and prevent fine lines on the face when used externally. Cocoa powder has Vata balancing properties that help to control excessive dryness and makes the skin look young.

Tags

NS Desk

Are you an Ayurveda doctor? Download our App from Google PlayStore now!

Download NirogStreet App for Ayurveda Doctors. Discuss cases with other doctors, share insights and experiences, read research papers and case studies. Get Free Consultation 9625991603 | 9625991607 | 8595299366

Read the Next

view all