Cocoa powder has been found to include flavonoids which are antioxidants, they can aid in the oxidation of LDL, (1,2) and augments the antioxidant defence system (3). Cocoa powder has also been found to stimulate nitric oxide production which can reduce oxidative stress and reduce the risk of heart attack (4).
1 – Bearden MM, Pearson DA, Rein D, et al. Potential cardiovascular health benefits of procyanidins present in chocolate and cocoa. In: Parliment TH, Ho C-T, Schieberle P, eds. Caffeinated beverages: health benefits, physiological effects, and chemistry. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society, 2000:177–186
2 – Pearson DA, Schmitz HH, Lazarus SA, Keen CL. Inhibition of in vitro low-density lipoprotein oxidation by oligomeric procyanidins present in chocolate and cocoas. In: Packer L, ed. Methods in enzymology. Vol. 335. New York: Academic Press, 2001:350–60.
3 – Keen, C. L., Holt, R. R., Oteiza, P. I., Fraga, C. G., & Schmitz, H. H. (2005). Cocoa antioxidants and cardiovascular health. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 81(1), 298S-303S.
4 – Osakabe N, Sanbongi C, Yamagishi M, Takizawa T, Osawa T. Effects of polyphenol substances derived from Theobroma cacao on gastric mucosal lesion induced by ethanol. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1998;62:1535–8.