Cocoa seeds come from the cocoa fruit (Theobroma cacao). It is widely used in the food industry – primarily for the production of cocoa powder and cocoa butter, which is used to produce e.g., chocolate. Raw, untreated, cocoa beans are a treasury of valuable nutrients, which is why they were included in the group of the so-called superfoods.
About 50% of the dry mass of cocoa seeds are fats – mainly saturated fatty acids (stearic and palmitic) as well as oleic acid and other acids from the EUFAs. 31% is carbohydrates, with up to 15% being non-digestible fiber.
Cocoa seeds also contain minerals (magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper), amino acids (arginine, glutamine, leucine) and two alkaloids (theobromine, caffeine), showing a stimulating effect. In addition, they are extremely rich in polyphenols (catechins, anthocyanins, procyanidins) that have a beneficial effect on the human body. They are credited for the ability to regulate blood pressure, lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar.
Cocoa seed extracts are a popular ingredient in health-promoting preparations. They are also commonly used in slimming supplements, sometimes they are also added to pre-workout formulas and mild stimulants.