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Bone-bastic: Calcium in Cocoa Powder

, a staple in the confectionery sector, has been making a buzz not just because of its delicious flavor, but also for its nutritional value. The Worldwide Cocoa and Chocolate Market Size is expected to reach USD 68.2 Billion by 2030. More interestingly, our focus sheds light on the calcium in —it's bone-bastic!

Is cocoa powder high in calcium?

Cocoa powder is known for its rich flavor, a favorite among confectioners worldwide. But beyond the tantalizing taste it offers, does it also play a role in our nutrition? Specifically, is cocoa powder high in calcium?

Yes, there is —a mineral that plays an important role in bone health. According to USDA National Nutrient Database, one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, an average serving size, contains about 27 milligrams (mg) of calcium. But that's not all! Cocoa powder is also packed with other minerals such as iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

brown powder

Now, before you go diving into your favorite chocolate stash, bear in mind that not all chocolates are created equal. The level of calcium in cocoa powder can vary depending on the way it's processed. Particularly, ‘Dutch-process' or alkalized cocoa powder is stripped off some of its nutritional values, calcium included, during its treatment with alkaline.

Is there calcium in dark chocolate?

Well, bereft of the suspense, yes, there is calcium in dark chocolate—but here's the catch. To make the most out of this indulgent treat while keeping health at a prime, consider the quality of the dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cocoa it contains, the richer it is in nutrients.

A study reports that a 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains 73 mg of calcium. This is equivalent to about 7% of the daily recommended intake of calcium for the average adult.

Calcium in Cocoa Powder: Does cocoa reduce calcium absorption?

As beneficial as it is, does cocoa consumption reduce calcium absorption? This is an intriguing question that warrants a little factual tour.

Research published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” suggests that cocoa and other foods rich in oxalates can indeed interfere with calcium absorption. Oxalates bind calcium in the digestive tract, rendering it unavailable for absorption. This is where moderation plays a pivotal role. Consuming cocoa responsibly without overstepping the human threshold can let us relish in the health benefits it brings.

white and yellow cake on white table

These bits of information around ‘calcium in cocoa powder' make duplicity in our nutritional narratives. It's a reminder that quenching curiosity is not only media's but a shared responsibility with readers. While cocoa powder and dark chocolate indeed have calcium, one must nibble on, savor, and swallow them up keeping moderation in mind, and preferably, pair with a calcium-rich diet to get full benefits.

Is cocoa good for bones?

Yes, cocoa, the basic component of dark chocolate, is beneficial for bone health due to its calcium content. Calcium is known for its vital role in maintaining bone health as it assists in building and repairing human bones. While it's stereotypically sourced from dairy products, it can also be found in cocoa. According to a research study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” cocoa is an unexpected but reliable calcium source (calcium in cocoa powder amounts to about 128mg per 100g) displaying bone-health benefits thanks to its flavonoid content, specifically a type called flavanols.

Flavanols are naturally occurring plant-based substances found in high quantities in cocoa. According to a research review from “Frontiers in Nutrition,” flavanols found in cocoa play significant roles in bone formation and structure as well as having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Localized inflammation in the bones and oxidative stress can lead to osteoporosis and bone degeneration, so cocoa's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can be beneficial to bone health.

calcium in cocoa powder, is it enough to keep you going?

Furthermore, a study in the “Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics” found that cocoa flavanols can increase bone density and bone strength, attributing this partly to the significant effect on collagen cross-linking, a natural process that reinforces and stabilizes collagen structures in the bone.

However, calcium in cocoa powder is also accompanied by oxalates. Cocoa powder contains approximately 619 mg oxalates 100 gram of cocoa powder. Oxalates can bind calcium, making the human digestive system unable to absorp calcium. Hence, not all 100% of calcium in cocoa powder consumed can be transferred to the bones.

Is dark chocolate bad for osteoporosis?

Dark chocolate is not bad for osteoporosis; in fact, it could be beneficial for those concerned about bone health. The calcium content in dark chocolate (around 12mg per square, that's 3.5% of the daily recommended intake) is supportive of bone strength. As mentioned above, the flavanols found in cocoa also offer bone health benefits. So, while it should not be the only source of calcium in one's diet due to its high caloric content, dark chocolate can be included as part of a balanced diet for bone health.

citiscan result hand ok

Moreover, a study from “Nutrition,” highlighted that the high minerals content in dark chocolate, including magnesium, copper, and zinc, alongside flavanols, can promote bone density and osteoblastic, or bone-building, activity. It's worth mentioning, however, that dark chocolate's benefits are best reaped from a variety that's at least 70% cocoa, which guarantees a higher mineral content.

What is the number 1 source of calcium?

Despite the healthy calcium in cocoa powder, dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are typically regarded as the number one source of calcium, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For instance, one cup of milk has about 300 mg of calcium, which constitutes around 30% of the daily recommended intake for most adults.

clear glass bottle with white liquid inside

However, for those who are lactose intolerant or choose to follow a vegan diet, there are many non-dairy sources of calcium including fortified almond milk, leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, and tofu made with calcium sulfate. Calcium-set tofu can provide as much as 861mg of calcium per half cup. Moreover, sesame seeds are potent sources of calcium, with about 273 mg of calcium per ounce.

In conclusion, while cocoa and dark chocolate are not the primary sources of calcium, their calcium, flavanol content and other minerals make these delightful treats a bone-friendly option when enjoyed in moderation.

How Much Calcium Do Humans Need a Day?

While calculating the precise daily need for calcium is dependent on various factors like age, sex, and lifestyle, but according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the average adult needs approximately 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium per day. This is necessary to maintain a healthy skeletal system and enable crucial bodily functions.

For those under 50, the recommended daily intake is 1,000 mg while women over 50 and men over 70 should aim for 1,200 mg. It should be noted that more is not always better. As pointed out by the Mayo Clinic, excess calcium, particularly over 2,000 mg for adults, may lead to kidney stones and may interfere with the absorption of other minerals in the body.

How is Calcium Important to the Human Body?

Calcium benefits are not limited to bonafide bone health. It plays a vital role in our bodies, right down to the cellular level. The Office of Dietary Supplements maintains that calcium is needed for vascular contraction and dilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling, and hormonal secretion.

One of its most critical roles, as underscored by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, is in maintaining bone health. Calcium is stored in the bones and teeth, where it supports their structure and hardness. Without adequate calcium intake, the body can start to take calcium from the bones to ensure critical metabolic functions, leading to weakened bones and, eventually, osteoporosis.

What Food is Highest in Calcium?

Although dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are traditionally known as the highest sources of calcium, they're not the only food items where you can get your daily recommended dose of calcium. Leafy green vegetables, for instance, are rich in calcium. Spinach, kale, and collard greens contain around 100-267 mg per cup, according to the USDA.

But just like we have discussed so far, there's also calcium in cocoa powder. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that Cocoa powder has a fairly high calcium content, with about 128 mg of calcium per 100 grams. However, bear in mind that cocoa powder also contains oxalate, which can reduce calcium absorption. Therefore, while cocoa powder can be a delicious, contributing source towards your calcium intake, it should not be relied on as the sole one.


Understanding how much calcium one needs and where to get it from is crucial for maintaining a healthy body. While dairy products and leafy greens are common go-to sources, less typical sources like cocoa powder should not be overlooked. Balancing your diet to incorporate a host of calcium-rich foods will help support not just your bone health but a multitude of biological functions. Just remember, moderation is key – excessive calcium can lead to its own set of health problems. Cheers to healthy, calcium-rich living!

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