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10 Benefits From Dark Chocolate

Updated on August 13, 2014

* Dark Chocolate *

Dark chocolate, also called black chocolate, is a type of chocolate that is the healthiest and the most natural. When compared to other chocolate types, dark chocolate does not contain any milk solids. Milk solids are used as an additive to alter the appearance and flavor of chocolate. Dark chocolate is naturally dry, chalky, and has a bittersweet flavor. Dark chocolate is produced by adding small amounts of fat and sugar to pure cocoa. Sometimes vanilla flavoring or nuts are added to dark chocolate for an enhanced flavor. Dark chocolate is the best choice for a snack. Dark chocolate can be enjoyed by adults and children, in moderation of course.

Dark chocolate can range in purity by the percentage of cocoa solids contained in the chocolate. For example, the cocoa content of commercial dark chocolate bars can range from 30% for sweet dark chocolate to 70%, 75%, or even above 80% for extremely dark chocolate bars. The higher percentage of cocoa solids contained in dark chocolate means that it is darker and less sweet, but healthier and more natural. Dark chocolate can be consumed raw, melted, or used as a baking ingredient. Dark chocolate tends to be more expensive than other chocolate types, but it's worth every penny. Dark chocolate is healthy for many different reasons.

Dark Chocolate Ingredients

The ingredients found in dark chocolate are all natural and healthy to consume daily. They are simple and without any that cannot be pronounced. Dark chocolate is easy to produce. The main ingredients in dark chocolate are:

  • Cocoa Butter
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Chocolate Liquor
  • Sugar
  • Soy Lecithin

The amount of ingredients in dark chocolate vary depending on the type of dark chocolate. Some dark chocolate types contain more of certain ingredients, while other dark chocolate types contain less of certain ingredients. Other chocolate types, like milk chocolate and white chocolate, contain milk solids along with high amounts of sugar and salt. With simple ingredients that are all natural, dark chocolate is the best chocolate choice to indulge in. Dark chocolate is okay to be consumed daily and, in fact, is recommended.

Types of Dark Chocolate

There are many different brands of dark chocolate to choose from, but there are only three dark chocolate types. They are:

  • Sweet dark chocolate contains the same amount of sugar as cocoa, which is added to a chocolate liquor for a sweet flavor.
  • Semi-Sweet dark chocolate is frequently used as a cooking and baking ingredient; it is a dark chocolate that contains half as much sugar as cocoa, which is blended with a chocolate liquor.
  • Bittersweet dark chocolate is unsweetened chocolate with some added sugar (less than a third), more added cocoa butter, sometimes vanilla, and an emulsifier such as soy lecithin is added to preserve texture; it has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two dark chocolate types are interchangeable when used as a baking ingredient.

Semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate are sometimes referred to as couverture, which is a term that is used for chocolates that are rich in cocoa butter and contain a high percentage of cocoa, which is healthy and tastes great.

The Darker, the Healthier

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Why is Dark Chocolate Healthy?

Dark chocolate is healthy because of the good things that dark chocolate contains. Dark chocolate contains high amounts of cocoa flavanols, which are beneficial phytonutrients (also known as plant-based nutrients) that are found naturally in cocoa. Cocoa flavanols are scientifically proven to help support a healthy body, mentally and physically, when consumed daily. Flavanols act like vitamin B antioxidants to provide many health benefits. The flavanols found in dark chocolate are numerous, even more than found in some berries. No other food on Earth can match cocoa’s unique blend of flavanols. That’s why experts refer to the cocoa bean as nature’s most surprising “super fruit.” Since dark chocolate contains high amounts of cocoa solids, which is derived from cocoa beans, dark chocolate is the only chocolate type close to being a "super fruit."

Resveratrol is also found in dark chocolate. Reservaeratrol is the same antioxidant that is found in red wine and grapes and has been proven to protect the body. Dark chocolate contains approximately 13.1 micrograms of resveratrol per serving. Dark chocolate has the second highest concentration of reservatrol, next to red wine which contains approximately 18 micrograms of resveratrol per serving.

A List of 10 Benefits From Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is, in fact, the healthiest type of chocolate for many different reasons. Dark chocolate is the most natural form of chocolate, meaning less additives and a higher percentage of pure cocoa. Dark chocolate has many various health benefits that can be enjoyed by everyone. The benefits from consuming dark chocolate regularly can positively effect children, adults, and the elderly. Dark chocolate can cure and reduce the risk of certain ailments, while avoiding the use of medications. Dark chocolate is the most natural form of cocoa, with the greatest taste. Dark chocolate is enjoyed by many people around the world now that chocolate is widely and readily available. Now there are even more reasons than before to indulge in this dark and sweet treat more often, while not feeling so guilty about it. New and recent studies are confirming that snaking on chocolate daily will improve and increase health in many different ways, along with tasting great. From mentally healthy to physically healthy, dark chocolate is all around healthy. The list below will explain the benefits from dark chocolate, in detail and including illustrations.

1. Dark Chocolate is Heart Healthy.

Dark chocolate has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, and strokes from occurring because dark chocolate contains many antioxidants. There is a reduced chance of blockages and blood clots forming within the veins and arteries when dark chocolate is consumed regularly because dark chocolate releases antioxidants into the blood stream. This benefit is most important for women because older women have a higher risk of heart complications and heart disease, which might help explain why women crave chocolate so often. Dark chocolate is a great way to have and maintain heart health, without the regular use of medications and doctor's visits, which can become very costly and expensive. Dark chocolate helps the heart to maintain a regular heartbeat. Dark chocolate also helps to heal a broken heart, what ever the cause may be. Many women heal their broken heart with dark chocolate, and it works every time.

2. Dark Chocolate Improves Blood Flow.

Since dark chocolate contains antioxidants, it causes the blood vessels to dilate. When the blood vessels open widely, there is increased blood flow to all parts of the body including the heart, all organs, and even the eyes. The increased blood flow prevents plaque from forming in the blood vessels and arteries, which will help to stop blood clots from forming. This benefit is important for anyone with poor circulation, including those who experience a tingling sensation often. With increased blood flow, a person can feel more awake and energized throughout the day.

3. Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure.

Since consuming dark chocolate provides an increased blood flow within the blood vessels and arteries to all parts of the body, there is less build up of plaque which means lowers hypertension/blood pressure. The opening up of the blood vessels and arteries results in lower blood pressure, which also reduces stress, anxiety, and tension. Flavonoids contained in dark chocolate can also enhance and increase the formation of nitric oxide within a body to relax the blood vessel walls. Having healthy blood vessels and arteries is the best way to maintain lower blood pressure.

4. Dark Chocolate Lowers Bad Cholesterol and Raises Good Cholesterol.

When a person consumes dark chocolate, stearic acid is released. This is a neutral saturated fat that does not raise the bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises the good cholesterol (HDL). The cocoa butter that is added to the dark chocolate contains a mono-saturated fat, the good kind of fat that can be found in olive oil and in black olives. This type of mono-saturated fat is healthy for the skin, nails, and hair. The mono-saturated fat is also great for maintaining a healthy weight and for weight loss.

5. Dark Chocolate Reduces Depression.

Depression is a chronic state of feeling unhappy, stressed, down, or even angry. Depression has many negative effects on the whole body because the mind depressed, but so is the body and immune system. This can cause a person to experience fatigue, physical pain, and increases risk for other physical diseases to form. Studies have shown that dark chocolate can also help with depression in many different ways. Dark chocolate contains high amounts of tryptophan, which is an amino acid that breaks down into two other very important neurotransmitters. These are serotonin and melatonin, and both help to protect stress. Serotonin is a natural antidepressant, which helps to stabilize a person's mood. Melatonin helps a person to relax and be able fall into a deep sleep at night. Deep sleep is essential because it is the time when the body repairs itself from the stress from each day. It also helps to naturally restore the serotonin levels for the next day. Consuming dark chocolate also increases dopamine, which can help to reduce unexplained pain that is often associated with depression. Dark chocolate also contains mono-amines that help to stabilize moods by allowing the serotonin and dopamine to remain in the body for longer periods of time. Dark chocolate can increases endorphins

6. Dark Chocolate is Great for Teeth.

Since dark chocolate is derived from the cocoa plant, dark chocolate contains theobromine. Theobromine is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant that hardens tooth enamel. Hardened tooth enamel means that teeth are stronger and less susceptible to cavities. Eating dark chocolate does not replace proper and regular dental care, but can increase the strength of teeth. Tannins are what give dark chocolate it's bitter taste and dark appearance, but also prevent cavities from forming by inhibiting bacteria from sticking to your teeth. Polyphenols, or organic chemicals, contained in dark chocolate limit the effects of bacteria in the mouth because they neutralize the microorganisms that cause bad breath, prevent infections in your gums, and battle tooth decay. Flavonoids, referred to as Vitamin P from the mid 1930s to the early 1950s, are also in dark chocolate and they work to slow tooth decay. Enjoy dark chocolate daily and keep smiling.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 ounce
Calories 150
Calories from Fat90
% Daily Value *
Fat 10 g15%
Saturated fat 6 g30%
Unsaturated fat 4 g
Carbohydrates 13 g4%
Sugar 12 g
Fiber 4 g16%
Protein 2 g4%
Cholesterol 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

7. Dark Chocolate is Nutritious.

Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is nutritious. It contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. For example, a 100 gram (3.5 ounces) bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa content contains:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 67% of the RDA for Iron
  • 58% of the RDA for Magnesium
  • 89% of the RDA for Copper
  • 98% of the RDA for Manganese
  • Plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium
  • Only 600 calories
  • Moderate sugar amount

8. Dark Chocolate Improves Brain Function.

Since dark chocolate contains antioxidants that improve blood flow to all parts of the body, that also includes increased blood flow to and from the brain. That means more oxygen for the brain to function better and to retain more information throughout the day. Dark chocolate also contains certain chemicals, like phenylethylamine (PEA), that affect the brain in a positive way. These certain chemicals contained in dark chocolate can also enhance a person's mood by making the brain naturally create more serotonin without the use of medications. The increased blood flow and serotonin provided by dark chocolate can help any person's mood change from bad to good. Since the brain is functioning more and there is a positive mood, a person can accomplish more goals and get further in life with just a few bites of dark chocolate per day, and no prescription or co-pay is required.

9. Dark Chocolate Has Anti-Aging Properties.

The flavanols contained in dark chocolate offer some UV protection from the sun for your skin, but not enough to skip the sunscreen completely. The flavanols combined with the antioxidants that dark chocolate contains also help skin healthy by preventing increased signs of aging, meaning less wrinkles and fine lines. Dark chocolate also allows skin to retain elasticity and encourages skin cell rejuvenation. This means that skin can naturally be more supple with a glow that is complimenting.

10. Dark Chocolate Promotes Weight Loss.

Dark chocolate has been proven to improve and increase a person's metabolism at any age, which is important for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Having a higher metabolism means the body is burning more calories at a faster rate than a normal metabolism would. The increased blood flow from consuming dark chocolate is a great way to jump start any workout because there is an increase in energy. Snacking on dark chocolate before and/or after any meal can help to burn those extra unwanted calories that may be wearing a person down. Plus dark chocolate is filling, so a person will eat less during meals when dark chocolate is incorporated into a diet. Dark chocolate promotes healthy weight loss and it is a tasty method.

Dark Chocolate Always Makes the Perfect Gift

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    • profile image

      Peter Langelaar 4 years ago

      Yes Dr Steven Warren is the expert on chocolate.

      like to know more about him see his reputation (CV) here http://healthychoc.ws/index.php/dr-steven-warren-m... like to learn more also check out the site of Jean Kelsey her blog that's a nice source of information http://gourmethealthychocolates.com

      Like to stay informed check out my www.facebook.com/xocolatlvita

      Have a nice day

      Peter

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for your comment, Peter. Have a great day!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      Okay, you hooked me with that great picture of the woman eating chocolate. Voted up!

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks Julie. Enjoy dark chocolate and feel great!

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great article, like Julie you hooked me, and I am a guy! :

      Voted up!

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 4 years ago from Oregon

      Great information! I love chocolate, thanks for the positive key points on chocolate!

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      Thank you, Josh. I was going for that. Margarita...you are welcome.

    • brenda12lynette profile image

      brenda12lynette 4 years ago from Utah

      I love chocolate so it's great to know it has some health benefits. Thanks for the info!

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      You are welcome. Enjoy!

    • dobo700 profile image

      dobo700 4 years ago from Australia

      Thanks Cristale, dark chocolate is my favourite

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      You are welcome dobo! Keep in mind for when the holidays come too!

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 4 years ago

      Oh what a great Hub. For I do love chocolate. I have always felt that there must be something wrong with those you do not like this precious food. You have some fantastic info here. Thank you for sharing. Voted up for awesome.

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks. I put a lot of effort into that hub :)

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Thank you. I love dark chocolate, and would probably eat it if it were not PARTICULARLY good for me.

      But I wish you had stated there that it was great for men too. Then I would really feel vindicated.

      Not to worry, I have just eaten one of the best barnds of dark chocolate that I know... produced for IKEA (and for me, I wouldn't be surprised to discover).

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      You are welcome. It is also healthy for men, and even for children. Dark chocolate is healthy for any one who wants a healthy heart! :)

    • renee21 profile image

      renee21 4 years ago

      I love dark chocolate!!

    • lemonkerdz profile image

      lemonkerdz 4 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

      I never used to like dark chocolate but recently have developed a taste for it, especially since it is so versatile in adding other flavours to it. i knew it was good for you but never knew how good. thanks for the hub. shared!

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for reading! Every one loves chocolate of some type, but only dark chocolate is the healthiest one!

    • profile image

      tattuwurn 4 years ago

      I love dark chocolates the most because they're not too sickeningly sweet, and I'm glad that my indulgence on them may serve me well! Thanks for listing the health benefits of dark chocolates. Voted up and useful/awesome :)

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for reading! Enjoy your healthy dark chocolates!

    • profile image

      benefits of chocolate 4 years ago

      This is a top blog over here. I think I’ll visit your website more if you post more of this kind of specific information. Many thanks for posting this information.

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      You are very welcome and thanks for reading!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      Mmmmmm! Now you have me reaching for the dark chocolate. Love it! I even like semi sweet chocolate.

      Thanks for providing an article with so much wonderful information about chocolate and its many benefits.

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      You are welcome and thanks for reading this sweet hub.

    • Rose Anne Karesh profile image

      Rose Anne Karesh 4 years ago from Virginia

      What a fun and informative article! Thanks for writing it. My family are dark chocolate lovers (even my toddler) but I confess - I think it's mostly about the taste, not the health benefits for us.

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for reading and keep on loving this healthy snack.

    • KellyG05030 profile image

      Kelly 4 years ago from New England

      Great article, voted up! I know have more reasons to continue eating my favorite dark chocolate!!!

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 4 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      Very useful information with convincing inputs. My son likes dark chocolates but I am sure it the taste and not the benefits which attract him. I wish he understands the intrinsic value of his taste after going through this Hub.

    • profile image

      cbarbar 4 years ago

      I like this hub, especially the list of chocolate's health benefits and the history and description of different types of chocolate. I love chocolate and it's nice to know that it's good for you!

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for reading and for voting for this chocolaty hub.

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for reading this hub and for commenting.

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      Thank you so much for enjoying this hub.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      what a sweet hub! I only thought dark chocolates only increase mental capabilities in exams and yet it has more what a great news for me since I love them so much! voted up and shared

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for reading and for voting.

    • Petra Newman profile image

      Petra Newman 4 years ago

      A chocolate lover myself,I loved your hub. I start every morning with a piece of 90% dark chocolate with my coffee. I also loved your pictures.

      thanks for sharing. I voted this one up:)

    • Cristale profile image
      Author

      Cristale 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for reading and for voting for this hub. I also published a hub about the benefits of coffee, so your breakfast is a great start to each day.

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 4 years ago

      Fabulous Hub. Great info and research! Chocolate is definitely a favorite of mine. Voted up for useful and interesting! Thank you for sharing

    • renee21 profile image

      renee21 22 months ago

      I love dark chocolate! It is so yummy! Great hub! Voted up.

    • profile image

      Lazar Stevic 15 months ago

      I love dark chocolates because of the health benefits. The 100% unsweetened one is the best one even the taste can be really robust. It is good for sugar aware people. But for eating anything about 70% is good. And it should be a quality one that is organic and fair trade too... I order my supplies online from Santa Barbara Chocolate- http://www.santabarbarachocolate.com/

    • profile image

      plaudon@gmail.com 10 months ago

      may i use the picture of the dark chocolate with the gold and silver paper, for a cover picture for my poetry book which is called "Bittersweet Journey" or do I have to get some sort of copyright permission?

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