It’s certainly too early to say ingesting cocoa powder might “breakdown” plaque buildup. However, much evidence exists to support the overall cardiovascular/arterial benefits of the flavanoids contained in cocoa powder, mainly due to its antioxidant properties. Cocoa contains more phenolic/flavanoid antioxidants than most foods. The epicatechin (a flavanoid compound) content of cocoa is mainly responsible for its positive effects on the vascular/artery system including causing an upregulation of nitric oxide production. Other cardiovascular effects are mediated through anti-inflammatory actions of cocoa polyphenols. Also, the antioxidant effects of cocoa may influence insulin resistance and, in turn, reduce risk for diabetes. Cocoa ingestion has been shown to protect nerves from injury and inflammation, and have beneficial effects on satiety, cognitive function, and mood. As cocoa is generally consumed as energy-dense chocolate, an overconsumption in the way of calories is possible, leading to unwanted weight gain. Overall, as long as you consume cocoa within your appropriate range of calories, it can be a healthy addition to your diet. Positive studies have used between 10-40 gm/day of cocoa.

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