One tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder has 12 calories, 1 gram of protein and one tenth of a gram of sugar. The same portion has 1.8 grams of fiber, which is 5 percent of the daily intake for men and 7 percent for women.

Cocoa powder has up to nine percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc. Iron carries oxygen and is essential for your immune system. Manganese is a component of enzymes that form cartilage and bones, metabolize nutrients and function as antioxidants inside every cell in your body. Magnesium helps produce energy and maintain a normal heart rhythm. Zinc is vital for the production and development of new cells, including immune system cells.

Flavonoids are the plant based substances responsible for many of cocoa’s health benefits. Cocoa is a good source of epicatechin and catechin. Natural unsweetened cocoa powder has 196 milligrams of epicatechin in every 100 grams of powder.  The flavonoids in cocoa function as antioxidants that help prevent systemic inflammation. Epicatechin relaxes the muscles in blood vessels, which improves blood flow and helps lower blood pressure.

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