The Hidden Power Of Cocoa Powder

cocoa powder and dark chocolateIt’s hard to believe that such a simple (and delicious) ingredient can do so much more than just make your tummy happy. But from your head to your toes, this powerful powder can actually improve your overall health.

Helps Your Heart. Treat your ticker to some cocoa: Its flavonoids are linked to a host of cardio perks, including lowering blood pressure, reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol, and decreasing your overall risk for heart disease, says Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital.

To reap the benefits, sprinkle it in your breakfast smoothie or on your oatmeal; shoot for one tablespoon per day.

Helps Your Cravings. Skip your candy run and take a whiff of cocoa instead. “The powder has a rich, indulgent aroma, so you’ll often be satisfied by simply smelling it,” says Alan Hirsch, MD, founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation.

In fact, the scent may activate the same neurotransmitters in the brain that are stimulated when eating chocolate. Even if you’re still longing for a Kit Kat after a few whiffs, you’ll indulge less because your urge will have been eased.

Helps Your Skin. Cocoa can help make past skin sins ancient history! “It’s packed with antioxidants that help repair skin cells and neutralize harmful free radicals,” says dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD.

Mix up a rejuvenating cocoa mask: In a bowl, combine 1 tablespoon organic cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon honey,…