Scientific Name: Theobroma cacao
Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) is also spelled as cacao. The beans from cocoa fruit are used to make chocolate. The white pulp in the fruit is sometimes eaten as a dessert. Consuming cocoa may increase one's metabolism due to the content of caffeine and caffeine-like molecules such as theobromine. Unsweetened cocoa powder is most often used as an ingredient in chocolate beverages and cakes.
Cocoa powder is abundant in dietary fiber. An amount of 100 g of cocoa powder contains 37 mg of dietary fiber (148% daily value [DV]). Dietary fiber benefits the digestive system and lowers the risk of heart disease. Apart from the dietary fiber, cocoa powder contains the vitamins, riboflavin (14% DV) and niacin (11% DV). While riboflavin is important for metabolism, niacin is involved in nerve function. Niacin also plays a role in digestive and skin health.
Additionally, 100 g of unsweetened cocoa powder contains a variety of minerals. Abundant nutrients include: iron (77% DV), magnesium (125% DV), phosphorus (73% DV), potassium (44% DV), zinc (45% DV), copper (190% DV), manganese (192% DV), and selenium (20% DV). The magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese in cocoa powder are all necessary for bone health. Magnesium is also vital for muscle and nerve function. Cocoa powder contains high amounts of iron, which helps carry oxygen to cells and muscles. The mineral, copper, helps with the absorption of iron present in cocoa powder.