Study: How Much Cacao Powder Per Day

A study reveals how much cacao powder per day which may help keep memory loss away.

A report in the journal ‘Nature Neuroscience’ reveals the following…

A test group of volunteers aged from 50 to 69 consumed a daily cup of cocoa*
(not just any cocoa – details below).

after three months had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old.”

The study revealed that cocoa contains ingredients that (apparently) help reverse age-related memory decline…

But it’s not just any cocoa:

Columbia University Medical Center scientists published (2014) results of a dietary experiment (the effects of flavanols extracted from cocoa beans) on the aging human brain (sources below).

The results were remarkable.

900 mg of flavanols

(Equivalent quantity estimate below)

A group of 37 healthy volunteers aged from 50 to 69 were randomly divided in two. Each day for three months, they had a specially-prepared cocoa drink. One group consumed the drink with 900mg of flavanols, and the other with only 10mg of these compounds.

For those who consumed the high-cocoa-flavanol drink, “If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old,” said senior author, Scott Small.

Processing Raw Cocoa, or ‘Cacao’ vs. The Benefits Of Flavanols

A cocoa flavanol-containing test drink was produced for the study. It was prepared specifically using a proprietary process to extract flavanols from cocoa beans.

Most modern commercial methods of processing cocoa remove many of the beneficial flavanols found in the raw plant. Whereas other specific (cold) processing do not.

One such (cold) pressed ‘Cacao powder’ with beneficial flavanols intact:

Navitas Organics Cacao Powder
(view on amzn)

How Much Cacao Powder Per Day

2-Tablespoons of this particular Cacao Powder is apparently equivalent to 900mg flavanoids according to the manufacturer (see data source below). You might do your own research, but this is my estimation…

Chocolate or Cocoa comes from the cacao bean (pronounced, cah-cow). They are the dried seeds of a South American evergreen tree (Theobroma cacao). It is also referred to as the cocoa bean.

Pure organic cocoa powder that has not been roasted or processed at high temperatures have the highest levels of flavanols and ORAC antioxidant power.

Must Be Cold Processed

One major reason why flavanols found in cocoa powder are often removed from commercial cocoa is because they tend to have a bitter taste (people like ‘sweet’ things). Unfortunately this process removes an apparent major health benefit…

I have been purchasing the following organic raw cocoa for many years… It’s not your typical processed ‘sweet’ cocoa. Instead, it is cold-press processed from the bean rather than a heat process. I’ve learned to enjoy the unique taste, especially in a few of Mrs.J’s recipe drinks.

Cacao Powder Peanut Butter Cup Protein Smoothie Recipe

Cacao Powder Smoothie recipe
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup butternut squash (frozen)
  • Banana (or 1/2 banana)
  • 2 or 4 tablespoons peanut powder (preference to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder

Mix in blender.

(vary it however you like ;) )

Note: Apparently, to preserve the quality of raw cacao, it should not be heated above 110 degrees. Boiled water should be cooled to that temperature before adding the cacao (for making a ‘hot chocolate’ for example). This is why I like the cold ‘smoothie’…

I asked Navitus Naturals about Flavanoid Levels

UPDATE: I have contacted Navitus Naturals and asked them regarding the flavanoid levels in their cold-pressed cocoa powder. This is their response:

Thank you for contacting us and for your question about flavanols in our Cacao products.

Flavanols are a sub-category of the major antioxidant category of flavonoids. Navitas Naturals uses a third party lab to test for the flavonoid content of our Cacao products.

Cacao Powder: 11% (Serving size of 14g = 1540 mg of flavonoids)

Cacao Beans: 6.8% (Serving size of 28g = 1904 mg of flavonoids)

Cacao Nibs: 3.4% (Serving size of 28g = 952 mg of flavonoids)

The author has no affiliation with Navitus Naturals..

In my estimation how much cacao powder per day = 2 Tablespoons

I have calculated (using my digital scale) the equivalent amount of their Cacao Powder to apparently equate to 900mg of flavanoids (used in the study above) and is as follows:

2 Tablespoons Cacao Powder = 900mg flavanoids

14g = 1540mg (flavanoids)
8.2g = 900mg (flavanoids)

(1 Tablespoon cacao powder weighs 4g)

Cadmium levels in Cocao?

Cacao is grown in Peru where there is a higher level of volcanic ash content in the soil, which makes the product especially nutrient rich and may also cause higher levels of some naturally occurring elements, like Cadmium.

A statement from Navitus Naturals regarding Cadmium:

Cadmium can also result from man-made sources like fertilizers, but fortunately our organic products are not grown with artificial fertilizers.

The amount of cadmium in foods is generally low. In the United States, people typically eat 2.5 micrograms of cadmium per kilogram of their body weight per week.

The EU recommended daily limit is 2.5 micrograms per kg body weight per week which for a 150 pound person translates to 170 micrograms per week or 24 micrograms per day.

One serving of our Organic Cacao Powder was well below the current EU daily limit for an average sized adult.

Many foods have trace levels of cadmium, including meats, grains (especially rice), vegetables (especially leafy greens) and sunflower seeds.

The Children’s Food Project report of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency found cadmium in 57% of the foods tested. The highest level of cadmium was found in breakfast cereal at .284 ppm. Ninety-seven percent of the nut-based products contained cadmium with an average of 0.053 ppm. Health Canada did not consider that any of the tested foods represented a concern to human health with respect to the cadmium levels.

If you are concerned about your cadmium levels, ask your health care provider.

 [ Read: Top 100 ORAC Value Antioxidant Foods ]

Sources include:

Dietary flavanols reverse age-related memory decline

Enhancing dentate gyrus function with dietary flavanols improves cognition in older adults

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  1. Been using it for a few years, this is one product that works. I mix my with a protein mix just add water and heat it up in the microwave, by not having to mix it with other stuff makes it a great prep item.

  2. NRP,

    I take a special formula that keeps my memory razor sharp. I just can’t remember what it is.

      1. @ Blue Goose & Dennis

        Like many here have commented, ahhhhhh what?

        On the slight serious side, I have a 45 minuet discussion with the local “Health Food Nuts” store yesterday afternoon about all sorts of stuff, quite interesting some of the responses.

        I did mention the Cacao (and ordered some), my mix for Turmeric, the Lecithin and some other ideas, actually got the homeopathic Doc involved in a discussion that grew to about 12-14 people. The major thing She said was — When was the last time you felt or were sick, even with a ‘common’ cold? When was the last time you forgot something important? Do you have anything that’s “bothering you” as far as aches and pains? Then she asked the general age of the group there, “64”.

        Her recommendations,
        1. Keep doing regular “check-ups” blood work, and your health program, (of course)
        2. Eat “right”, don’t pig-out, and get exercise
        3. Keep doing what you’re doing if it’s working.
        4. DON’T fix it if it’s not broken.
        5. Heal the soul as much as the body
        6. Vote for Johnson, we all got a laugh from that one. LOL
        7. Listen to your body; it will talk to you if you listen
        8. Relax and enjoy your life, “you all have ‘made it’ to the best times in your life”
        9. Remember that nobody leaves this world alive, prepare yourself mentally
        10. Do NOT over-do the “special” supplements, “you are what you eat, so eat healthy”

        It was a GREAT off the cuff conversation with some very knowledgeable people regarding foods and supplements, I will add the Doctor asked me aside afterwards and did ask me about where I learned about the Turmeric and how I came up with my concoction. I told her about losing all of the inflammation and arthritis in my knees and hands. She was very impressed and said she would look more into this combination and probably be recommending it to some of her people.

        Last thing she said…… “Sounds to me like you have a great source of information, keep listening and let them know to keep passing along this sort of help to others”….. Made me feel might darn good….

        Not bad Ken, not bad at all Old-Man.


  3. I don’t drink coffee but miss having a morning cup of ‘something’ hot, especially in our Fall and Winter seasons. The idea of making myself a special cup of hot cocoa from this cacao sounds great. Then I remembered that this doesn’t work as well when heated. Rats!

    I really do like the idea of the cold smoothie that Mrs. J has concocted. I enjoy making smoothies so I’m w/ NRP and will order some to try.

    At 62, I’m not seeing that my memory is fading yet. Then again, maybe I have forgotten what I used to remember…

  4. There is also research being done on coconut oil and Alzheimer’s which looks promising. It has to do with ketones. I have started taking a tablespoon a day, while Alzheimer’s patients take a tablespoon three times a day.

    Today I had the butcher slice up a loin of pork and then forgot about it until I got home. An hour’s drive to pick it up.

    Maybe I should try coconut oil in a cup of hot cocoa. Remind me, sometime.

  5. I know this works. I personally know a man who suffers from memory loss and gets quite “FOGGY”. This happened from an accident BTW. (He’s 42.)

    He gets the actual cacao beans, grinds them up and ingests it. He has tried the almost pure cocoa in the baking section. It works OK but not as good as the beans. I can tell when he has not had any to take.
    It is literally night and day in his behavior. He can tell the difference himself.

    There is something to a lot of these remedies. I can tell the difference in my aches and pains if I miss taking the turmeric mix recipe for a day.

    Ya just gotta know Big Pharmacy and TPTB are pissed they can’t make any coin on these simple remedies. ..Thanks Ken!

    1. We have purchased various ‘powdered peanut butter’ brands depending on the grocery store availability… Currently using something from ‘bellplantation’ all natural, no additives, ‘PB2’. From Walmart this time.

      1. Never tried PB in powdered form. What’s it taste like? Is it very similar to regular PB? What’s the average shelf life?

        1. It is not like regular PB in that it does not taste sweet. It tastes more like ordinary peanuts, no salt, no sugar, etc.. and unfortunately is relatively expensive. I don’t know about its shelf life, since it doesn’t last long enough around here till its gone ;)

      2. @Ken

        What are advantages of the peanut butter powder? I saw a jar of this stuff at Sam’s club the other day… don’t remember the brand. Longer shelf life ??

        1. With regards to the smoothie recipe, it helps to offset the somewhat bitter taste of the cacao. Also, it provides some protein to the drink (about 5 grams in two tablespoons).

          I haven’t really found other recipes for it yet.

  6. I love the Lindt 85% cocoa bars. It must work because I remember to have a square everyday!!!!

    1. NRP’s recipe:

      1 Cup Turmeric Powder
      1/4 Cup Garlic Powder
      1/4 Cup Ginger Powder
      1/4 Cup Cayenne Pepper Powder
      1/4 Cup Black Pepper very fine grind

      (The black pepper helps the absorption of the rest.)

      Mix in a glass bowl with a wire Whisk very well and store in Glass.
      Mix 1 teaspoon full (of the mix) in an 8oz glass of V8 tomato juice

        1. @ Miss I Made It Myself

          I might add, I take one dose a day, I really felt the difference after about 2-3 weeks, and my ooooohhhh my what a difference in the joints.


      1. Hi Ken,

        I too have heard about the wonders of turmeric, ginger and black pepper combo. But also that turmeric needed milk to activate it, I recently started adding it to soya milk and just lightly warming.

        However, prior to reading the need to activate turmeric via milk, I was taking the turmeric combo with the first meal of the day, which is always plant based. Have to say I still benefited from pain reduction (CFS, fibro & thyroid), but intrigued to see if the milk will have an even greater impact.

        Responding to you because I love your Virgin Bloody Mary type drink and wondering if you’d read/researched about how tomato works with the turmeric mix?

        By the way, I’ve extended my turmeric mix to include a wider range of healthy spices (Dr Greger’s list), so also include coriander, home ground fenugreek and cloves. Add cumin too, just because I like it, not been highlighted as cure all so far, I’ll have to do a quick search and I’m sure it will have benefits! On my list to buy and include, not via Dr Greger, is nutmeg and mustard. I add all the spices to the turmeric mix and either drink it or mix into my vegetables and cook. Also add same Indian spice mix if I’m cooking up a batch of lentils or a bean and veg dip.

        I add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and chilli powder to 2.5 tbsps of raw cocoa powder drink, always consumed before 1pm. Had been adding this to my turmeric spice drink too, but today when I added milk, I got confused and kept them separate. Confusion to do with cocoa powder not to be consumed with fat or sugar to be effective. Not sure if the fat in soya milk counts, so today, only adding water.

        Love and eat dates, but again not on board with Dr Greger’s addition of dates to his choc ice cream, as cocoa is suppose to be sugar free to be effective. My feeling is to keep everything separate until actually studies show otherwise, as fear Dr Greger is just like the rest of us, and maybe gets carried away with creating a recipe and forgets to consider or at least mention on his video, if the natural sugars in dates cancels or enhances the cocoa effect.

        I’m easily confused when doing stuff, but clearer thinking when I’m typing up, so then question my earlier decision/confusion. Once I know what’s what, I will need to keep a note with the spices, so when I have brain fog/confusion (not always aware I’m actually foggy when it’s happening), I’ll just add the spices on my list.

        The above turmeric and cocoa drinks may seem extreme flavours, but I knock them back as medicine and to be honest, I like spice, so don’t find them too hot. I not actually a chocolate fan and would never buy a chocolate bar, so the bitterness of raw cocoa is not really an issue for me, as I’m not missing the taste of regular sweet chocolate. Prefer it mixed into the turmeric mix, as I prefer Indian spice flavours to bitter chocolate.

        1. @ Dottie

          I have a Turmeric mix I use; you may have seen it, that I mix about 1 heaping teaspoon full with 8oz Low Sodium V8 juice. I just mix one in the morning and sip on it throughout the day, no need to drink it right down.

          As far as Cocoa I mix some with my breakfast, usually Oat Meal a little cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg powders. I find it counteracts the effects of Gin quite well LOLOL

          I believe the next item I’m going to look into is Milk Thistle; Have been hearing some good things about it.

          Thanks for the tip on milk and Turmeric, I’m going to do some research on that.


  7. I have cocoa powder to my drinks every day. I’d better reduce the amount because 3 of my coworkers aged 76 to 67 hated the fact I remembered too much and too detailed because they said it made them look like dementia patients.

  8. Thinking of using a cold brew coffee maker for this. Perhaps mix in some coffee. Anyone try this?

    1. You can make strong coffee and add the cacao with creamer and sweetener then add ice to chill it for iced coffee

  9. Notice some mention ‘fogginess’ try Gingko Biloba first thing in the morning before food.

  10. Raw cacao seeds are white-ish. I have seen them growing in Costa Rica. I have cut open the fruits and even tasted the raw seeds (disgusting), so I know first hand that they are white. They get the brown color only from being roasted over high heat – just like coffee beans. I have watched my Costa Rican mother-in-law roast the seeds and grind them into powder many times. It is the roasting that turns them brown. So how does this company turn their cacao brown without heat? What is this magical “cold-processing”?

    1. Salty Dog,I was wondering about that myself…
      Most people would not recognize raw coffee. It starts out in a red cherry looking berry that gets soaked so they can get to the beans. Then they mechanically break up the cherry to get the seeds. The beans are air dried first. Then they’re ready for roasting.
      I imagine the cacao pods go through something similar.
      Enquiring minds like to know their process…

    2. Salty Dog, Fermentation then drying of the beans turn them dark. Check out this detailed description:

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