Cocoa powder offers a bitter, intense and deep chocolate flavor and is often added to cake, brownies or cookies. Not only does cocoa powder add the chocolaty flavor you desire in your baked goods, it also offers some important minerals that the body needs to survive and function properly.
A serving of cocoa powder is all you need to meet your daily recommended dosage of magnesium, as per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) daily recommended allowances. Magnesium is a major mineral in the skeleton, muscle tissues and various fluids in the human body. Magnesium helps with energy production, formation of proteins and replication of cells, lowers blood pressure and improves functioning of the heart.
Potassium is an essential mineral and is considered to be an electrolyte. Keeping a balance of potassium and sodium within the body is important. It is also vital that you replenish your potassium balance after exercising or excessive sweating. Fresh fruits and vegetable juices can also help replenish these levels. Potassium helps regulate your heart rate, produce energy, convert blood sugar and synthesize protein.
The body needs sodium, and the balance between sodium and potassium is imperative to keeping the body working efficiently. It is unhealthy to consume too much sodium, yet it is readily found in most processed foods and condiments. Sodium helps with nutrient absorption, blood pressure regulation and maintaining cell membrane potential.
A serving of cocoa powder offers more than half your daily dose of phosphorus. Every cell of your body requires phosphorus to function properly and is found mostly in the bones of your body. Phosphorus helps with energy production and storage, as well as maintaining acidity within the body.
Cocoa powder contains a small amount of iron per serving. Iron helps the body with metabolism, growth, healing, immune system functioning and DNA synthesis.
Copper helps with energy production and iron metabolism and helps form connective tissue. It also affects the nervous system and brain functioning.
There is a large amount of manganese in a cocoa powder serving, more than a recommended daily allowance. Manganese is a mineral that should be regulated and taken in small doses. It helps with metabolism and development of bones, heals wounds and has antioxidant properties.
Cocoa powder offers a small amount of selenium. Selenium is another mineral that should be taken in small doses because it can be toxic if you ingest too much at once. It aids enzymes in forming proteins.
- Photo Credit cacao image by Tatyana Gladskih from Fotolia.com
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