by Kris Pitcher
Cocoa isn't just for steaming hot mugs of yumminess on winter days. Cocoa has many benefits and contains the much sought after compounds, flavanols.
Cocoa comes from a bean. It's not the stuff with marshmallows in the Swiss Miss packets. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and has cardiovascular benefits including decreasing blood pressure. The antioxidants in cocoa helps us increase our HDL cholesterol (the good kind).
HDL helps the body metabolize fats in the bloodstream, lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and preventing heart attack and stroke. So, what can you do with this powder?
Eating it in powder form is your best bet. You don't need the sugar and fat found in dark chocolate (with a high cocoa content). Add a tablespoon of dry cocoa to your morning cup of coffee or throw it in the blender with your shake. You'll be adding 12 calories, 1gm fat, 2 gm dietary fiber, 1 gm protein.
Raw cocoa is bitter, but if you add it to your yogurt or coffee it's actually a great taste. It tastes rich and...chocolatey. Redirecting your taste buds to this natural flavor will give you the benefits without the sugar and fat. Enjoy!