Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Is dark chocolate really healthy for you? It’s been advertised as being good for us, but it can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. If you’re not sure whether the benefits you’ve heard about are really available from chocolate, here are some of the basics to help you decide.

Dark chocolate’s primary benefit comes from flavonoids, a type of substance that falls under the umbrella of antioxidants. Many of the diseases we suffer from can be caused or aggravated by oxidant damage to our cells. Antioxidants can help reduce these problems, including some of the effects of aging, by preventing the completion of the oxidant reaction.

They capture damaging free radicals, and can be very beneficial to us. Some foods have more antioxidants than others. For instance, while they’re present in strawberries, you’ll find almost eight times as much of these chemicals in dark chocolate. Chocolate also has the ability to reduce blood pressure, since it contains nitric oxide, and may help with internal hormonal balances.

It’s also been said that a small bar of chocolate daily can be good for your heart. That’s because of the aforementioned blood pressure benefits, and also the fact that it can help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol as much as ten percent. Chocolate also stimulates the production of endorphins and serotonin, contains caffeine, theobromine and other stimulants, and tastes good. That means it has a lot of appeal.

The downsides are that it takes a lot of chocolate to have a big effect, and chocolate is a fairly fatty food. A third of the fats in chocolate are monounsaturated, and two thirds are saturated and able to affect your cholesterol. Another problem is that this high fat content, combined with the sugar in chocolate, means weight gain is a possibility if you eat too much.

Studies have used about three and a half ounces of dark chocolate each day to determine its benefits. That translates into about four hundred calories. While that might not sound like much, consider that it’s the same as eating two small doughnuts, and that an extra four hundred calories per day could result in a gain of almost a pound a week.

That means that if you’re eating a lot of chocolate to get its benefits, you’ll need to increase your activity level and adjust your diet accordingly to avoid weight gain. To keep from eating too much, take the time to taste and appreciate chocolate every time your consume it. These health benefits are also available only from dark chocolate with sixty-five percent or higher levels of cocoa.

Milk chocolate has much lower cocoa content and can’t offer those health benefits, and white chocolate contains no cocoa at all. Chocolate bars made of pure chocolate or chocolate with minimal flavorings are the best choice. Avoid nougat, caramel, and similar fillings, which can reduce the benefits chocolate is offering. So enjoy your dark chocolate and feel good that you might being doing your health a small service.

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About The Author, Chris Alleny
Chris loves to write about all kinds of food particularly chocolates. Find out more about Dark Chocolates by visiting