Cocoa flavanols have been shown to increase your body's natural supply of nitric oxide, a supermolecule that promotes healthy blood flow.
- Sources of cocoa flavanols include cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and cocoa beans.
- Most cocoa products don’t contain enough of cocoa flavanols for you to enjoy their health benefits. That’s where CocoaVia™ comes in.
What Are Cocoa Flavanols?
Did you know?
Never heard of cocoa flavanols?
In short, they are plant-based nutrients that can benefit your whole body. But let’s take a step back and define “flavanols.” Flavanols are bioactive compounds found naturally in many plant-based foods and beverages, including tea, apples, various berries, and cocoa.The unique blend of compounds in the cocoa bean are called cocoa flavanols, and include simple forms such as (-)-epicatechin and (+)-catechin, as well as linked chains of flavanols known as procyanidins.To make things easy, we refer to this mixture simply as cocoa flavanols. Researchers have studied cocoa flavanols for decades and have found that consuming these compounds can have a beneficial effect on memory, heart, and total body health.
Health Benefits of Cocoa Flavanols
Here’s the scoop in a cocoa shell: Cocoa flavanols have been shown to increase your body's natural supply of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a supermolecule that allows arteries to relax and widen, promoting healthy blood flow throughout your body. Better blood flow supports better health from head to toe:
- Brain - Blood flow to and from your brain is important to brain health and function. Beyond supporting healthy blood flow to the brain, several clinical studies have shown that cocoa flavanols can improve memory and brain function.
- Heart - Nitric oxide helps keep your arteries flexible, supporting the cardiovascular system, your body’s transportation system. When blood vessels are healthy your heart can be too.
- Whole-body - A healthy blood flow delivers essential oxygen and nutrients to every organ, muscle, and tissue throughout your body. Proper blood flow helps you perform at your best.
"The amount of cocoa flavanols in a serving of chocolate varies greatly and in most cases, you won’t be able to get enough cocoa flavanols from even high percentage dark chocolate to experience any health benefits."
How to Get Cocoa Flavanols
Cocoa flavanols deliver some pretty awesome health-boosting benefits, but it can be tough to find the flavanols in regular foods. While you may love hot cocoa and your favorite chocolate bar, most cocoa products won’t contain enough of those flavanols for you to enjoy their health benefits. That’s because natural cocoa compounds are delicate and the flavanols are often destroyed during the traditional cocoa processing process.
So how can you find these fantastic, yet fragile, flavanols? Here are some sources:
Cocoa beans are the fermented and dried seeds of the cacao plant. Cocoa beans can be roasted and be a snack on their own. You can also ground or blend the beans and add them to smoothies, yogurt, desserts, and baked goods. Cocoa beans can deliver some cocoa flavanols (but how they are handled does matter!) but not nearly as much as the concentrated amount you can get in some other sources.
The amount of cocoa flavanols in dark chocolate can range from 100 mg in 100 grams of chocolate (about 3 ounces) to 2,000 mg.2 The higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the more bitter the taste. Milk chocolate also has flavanols, but far less than what is in dark chocolate. While dark chocolate contains nutrients like n zinc, copper, and magnesium, it is also high in calories, fat, and contains added sugars - so you need to watch how much you eat!
Cocoa powder is a processed cocoa product and it’s difficult to know exactly what you’re getting in terms of flavanol content per serving. Natural unsweetened cocoa powder contains more flavanols than Dutch-processed or alkalized cocoa powder.
Tests have found that a tablespoon of cocoa powder will provide about as many milligrams of flavanols as an entire bar of a low percentage dark chocolate candy bar.3 Cocoa powder also contains minerals, protein, potassium, and modest amounts of fiber.
Try CocoaVia™ Cocoa Flavanol Supplements
While you can get cocoa flavanols from the above, they cannot provide the flavanol content needed to support health. One of the best ways to maximize the health benefits from these plant-based nutrients is with CocoaVia™ cocoa extract supplements. Using our proprietary Cocoapro® process, we carefully handle cocoa beans and gently extract cocoa flavanols to produce our highly concentrated cocoa extract. Every CocoaVia™ supplement serving delivers 450-750mg of cocoa flavanols – the highest concentration available in a supplement on the market today, guaranteed.
1”Cacao vs Cocoa: What's the Difference?,” Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cacao-vs-cocoa
2 Cooperman, Tod, MD. “How much dark chocolate equals a tablespoon of cocoa powder?,” ConsumerLab, July 25, 2017, https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/how-much-dark-chocolate-equals-a-tablespoon-of-cocoa-powder/dark-chocolate-cocoa-flavanols/
3 Anderson, Mark, Ph.D. “Dark Chocolates, Cocoa & Cacao Powders, Nibs, and Supplements Review -- Sources of Flavanols,” ConsumerLab, https://www.consumerlab.com/methods/cocoa-powders-and-chocolates-sources-of-flavanols/cocoa-flavanols/