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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Is eating cocoa powder good for you?

I eat three teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder daily. Is this harmful? I understand that cocoa powder is rich in healthy benefits.

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Hot cocoa and cocoa powder

There should be no problem with consuming the three teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. There has been a lot of research that indicates the antioxidants including polyphenols and flavonoids are very beneficial.

Here are some articles on the Dr. Gourmet Web site for further reading:

Hot Chocolate for High Blood Pressure?

The Health of It All: Chocolate is good for you!

There are literally hundreds of studies that have looked at cocoa and how it may have a variety of health benefits:

Dose-dependent increases in flow-mediated dilation following acute cocoa ingestion in healthy older adults

Dark chocolate and blood pressure: a novel study from Jordan

Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in an acute improvement in visual and cognitive functions

Flavanol-rich cocoa ameliorates lipemia-induced endothelial dysfunction

High cocoa polyphenol rich chocolate may reduce the burden of the symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome

A tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of cocoa contains only 12 calories. There is very little fat in unsweetened cocoa so the amount you are having every day should be safe.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet