Blog | Cancer–Fighting Cocoa - National Foundation for Cancer Research


Cancer–Fighting Cocoa

Who doesn’t love chocolate? When it comes to a beloved treat, chocolate is a common favorite. But, unfortunately, there are consequences that aren’t that sweet!

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not trying to rain on your parade. The truth is there are pros and cons to the delectable delight. For example, dark chocolate contains powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants called flavanols, but also includes cocoa butter which has high levels of unhealthy saturated fat that can raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease when consumed in excess.

Cocoa Can Help Fight Cancer

Dark chocolate and chocolate powderSo what could be a better option than dark chocolate?

When it comes to fighting cancer, the answer is simple: Cocoa!

One gram of cocoa contains over 30 mg of flavanols, whereas one gram of dark chocolate only contains approximately 12.5 mg. What’s more one ounce of dark chocolate typically contains about 170 calories, 12 grams of fat and 10 grams of sugar, while one ounce of unsweetened cocoa powder contains only 70 calories, 4 grams of fat and virtually no sugar.

Add Powdered Cocoa to Your Diet

oatmeal with cocoaBy adding powdered cocoa to your diet, you can reap its cancer-fighting benefits without the guilt.

It may taste bitter by itself, but you can simply add 2-4 Tablespoons in foods like oatmeal, smoothies or shakes to make a delicious addition to your healthy diet. You’ll find cocoa powder in the baking aisle at your local grocery store.

For more cancer-fighting food tips and recipes, visit


  1. REPLY
    James Campagna says

    Robert Where are the miles program?

    • REPLY
      JacobA says

      HI James,

      Our miles program is run by Melissa White through Fly to Find a Cure.

      You can contact her at or visit to donate.

  2. REPLY
    Maria Boggio de Morelos says

    I love dark chocolate! After reading your article, I will switch to powder cocoa.

    Thank you!

    • REPLY
      Amal says

      Ritual chocolate has 100%, and it tastes great

  3. REPLY
    Duane Baack says

    Thank you for the information. I’ve been using powder cocoa for a long time but didn’t know how beneficial it is.

    • REPLY
      vicki says

      how do you use it. I don’t like oatmeal in summer and don’t make smoothies

      • REPLY
        KeithS says

        Hi Vicki, we polled a few folks asking them to respond to the no smoothies or oatmeal question and gathered a few suggestions: Sprinkle cocoa on bananas and cottage cheese or over berries (like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries).

        We also found this awesome link with recipes.

        Hope this helps- Thanks for commenting!

      • REPLY
        Beth says

        Make a nice hot cocoa by putting 3 tbsp Hershey’s cocoa powder in a large mug or cup, add hot water, stir, add 3 stevia packets, and some half and half. Play with the proportions if you want it sweeter or creamier It will be delicious.

        • REPLY
          Beth says

          That’s Hersheys unsweetened cocoa powder of course, good for the cold autumn and winter days, or just tone cheered up by a little hit of chocolate .

  4. REPLY
    Dave says

    Hello. impressive job. I did not imagine this. This is a excellent story. Thanks!

  5. REPLY
    corburterilio says

    I genuinely value your piece of work, Great post.

    • REPLY
      Robyn Stoller says

      Thanks so much! Keep checking back for more cancer-fighting tips.

  6. REPLY
    Julie Nygard says

    Very disappointed to see the author of this article siting cocoa butter as having “unhealthy saturated fat that can raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease when consumed in excess.” First, cocoa butter comes from a fruit and as such, it’s a very healthy fat containing primarily oleic acid, the same fat found in olives, avocados and many nuts. The saturated fat in chocolate is stearic acid, which has been shown to metabolize as cholesterol-neutral in the body. Numerous studies have shown dark chocolate to increase HDL’s and lower LDL’s, exactly what you would hope to see in the war against cholesterol, an effect due to is very high level of antioxidants. Secondly, dietary cholesterol only accounts for less than 10% of the cholesterol measured in the blood. If you truly want to lower cholesterol, cut out sugar and grains, which both raise insulin in the blood–a major contributor to high cholesterol. See Mary Enig’s book “Know Your Fats” for comprehensive information about fats and the body. We need fats to help shut off the appetite and keep hormones balanced, the key is to get the right fats, and chocolate contains good fats.

    While I agree that cocoa powder is an excellent way to get the benefits of chocolate without excess calories, 70%+ dark chocolate has also shown to have numerous beneficial effects against cancer. When enjoyed with tart dried cherries and whole almonds, it makes a fabulous snack and an uplifting relief to those suffering from such a debilitating and life-threatening disease.

    • REPLY
      serena everson says

      Wow thank you so much for clarifying this important information. I only eat dark chocolate. Try to stay away from sweets. Also I have soft tissue sarcoma. An have had 2 surgerys, since March 25, 21. I need as much proper information as I can get . Especially when your not getting any information from the Drs at the University where I get treatment. Very fustrating ,

  7. REPLY
    Croissan Le'Baguette says

    Thank you NFCR, very cool!

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