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Dark Chocolate Nutrition

Updated on June 30, 2018
sharonbellis profile image

Sharon is a certified Human Resources Manager with a passion for health topics, food, non-fiction books and writing

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Dark Chocolate has Health Benefits

There are health benefits associated with the consumption of dark chocolate. If you have a sweet tooth or consider yourself a "chocoholic" you can relax and enjoy the dark variety. We have all been told to avoid sweets because they are not good for you. Now there is one sweet you can indulge in!

However, one word of caution - dark chocolate is high in calories so overindulging is ill advised. You must always remember that balance and moderation is key so limit your intake of this treat to reap the benefits and avoid the drawbacks.

So how much is enought? Eating a small dark chocolate bar daily can be quite good for you so keep curb your intake to no more than this.

Why is dark chocolate beneficial to your health? There are many reasons.

One of these is that dark chocolate is a powerful antioxidant that battles those free radicals responsible for our aging process. It is also low on the glycemic index keeping our blood sugar stable and this in turn helps keep us trim. It protects the heart from disease and it can also act as a brain booster! These are a few of the great reasons to add dark chocolate to your diet.

Milk chocolate does not have same health benefits because it contains a lower concentration of cacao. Cacao is the superstar here and dark chocolate contains lots of it!

Check the label - you should be consuming dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao to realize the benefits.

How does dark chocolate do all these great things? Read on!

Cacao is the active ingredient in chocolate that makes it health and provides the nutritional benefits.  The higher the percentage of cacao in the chocolate the better.  Dark chocolate varieties contain the most cacao.
Cacao is the active ingredient in chocolate that makes it health and provides the nutritional benefits. The higher the percentage of cacao in the chocolate the better. Dark chocolate varieties contain the most cacao. | Source

Why is Dark Chocolate Healthy?

Antioxidant

Dark chocolate good for you because It is chock full of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your healthy cells from the detrimental effects of free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable molecules in your body that are primarily responsible for aging; tissue damage and some diseases. These molecules bond with healthy cells and damage them and as you age your natural protection diminishes.

Therefore getting more antioxidants through your diet is important. The cocoa contained in dark chocolate contains more antioxidants than healthy foods such as blueberries and green tea!

Low Glycemic Food

Dark chocolate is rich in "flavanols" which are the antioxidants described above. But flavanols also play a greater role than just fighting off free radicals. They also help to restore the cells ability to allow sugar to enter the cells from the bloodstream so it can be used for energy.

Dark chocolate has an glycemic index rating of only 23. This is very low. Low glycemic foods with an index of 55 or less when consumed keep the blood sugar levels steady. This is important to avoid developing diabetes and to keep your weight steady as well as increase your energy levels.

Heart Healthy

The consumption of dark chocolate has been shown to reduce the inflammation that is associated with the development of heart disease and the reduction is significant!

Chronic Inflammation has a strong connection to the development of heart disease so the ability to reduce this inflammation is a great health benefit. C-reactive protein levels in blood cause this inflammation and studies shows that people who eat dark chocolate regularly have much lower levels of this protein in their bloodstream.

The recommendation is a one small chocolate bar per day (about 6.7 grams or 0.23 ounces), no more than that is recommended. One caution, dark chocolate is a high fat food, some of this fat is saturated but as long as it is eaten in moderation, the healthy benefits are not lost. It is still worth adding dark chocolate to your diet.

Brain Booster

Dark chocolate has been shown to have an effect on the brain and in a good way. It doesn't put you into a chocolate induced haze actually quite the opposite!

Researchers have found that consumption of dark chocolate significantly increases blood flow to the brain. The increase of blood flow is thought to increase alertness and memory for at least a few hours.

It appears that a dark chocolate bar is a good treat to consume when you need to concentrate for a few hours perhaps during an exam or working on a project at work. This research has implications for perhaps treating vascular related disorders such as stroke and dementia. Flavanols are again the ingredient that is responsible for these benefits and dark chocolate is rich in flavanols.

Healthiest Dark Chocolate

Lindt Excellence Bar, 70% Cocoa Smooth Dark Chocolate, Gluten Free, 3.5 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Lindt Excellence Bar, 70% Cocoa Smooth Dark Chocolate, Gluten Free, 3.5 Ounce (Pack of 12)

Lindt brand dark chocolate is a favourite of mine. One of the things I like best about it is how easy it is to break off into smaller pieces. The bar is made up of small squares, and breaking off a couple is the perfect little treat to satisfy your chocolate craving. It has a good chocolate taste without bitterness. Try it yourself you won't be disappointed. I like the 70 % cocoa variety but it does come in 85% and 90%. Remember the higher the percentage of cocoa the healthier it is.

 
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But what about the taste of Dark Chocolate?

It's true that dark chocolate is not as creamy or sweet as milk chocolate. But milk chocolate shares none of the healthy benefits. Dark chocolate is an acquired taste. However, if you allow the chocolate to melt slowly in your mouth the creamier chocolate flavors will be unleashed. You just have to know how to enjoy it.

Dark chocolate should always be brought to room temperature - a cold bar becomes brittle and unappealing.

when you are buying chocolate bars be certain they contain at least 70 percent cacao (cocoa) to be considered a healthy. Anything less than this will not provide the same health benefits, in fact quite the opposite. More and more chocolate companies such as Hershey are now producing dark chocolate bars that are readily available at the local supermarket. It just makes sense to pick up that dark chocolate bar instead of the sugary milk chocolate version.

Dark Chocolate Recipes

Most chocolate drinks are made from milk chocolate but you can make these drinks from a healthier dark chocolate and these are just as enjoyable.
Most chocolate drinks are made from milk chocolate but you can make these drinks from a healthier dark chocolate and these are just as enjoyable. | Source

Hot Chocolate Drink

Here is a recipe for homemade hot chocolate made with healthy ingredients. I hope you will try it, its one of my favorites.

Ingredients:

4 cups soy milk or almond milk

3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped coarsely

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt (to taste)

Method:

1. Using a small saucepan, combine ingredients

2. Using a whisk stir over medium low heat until the chocolate has melted and mixture is steaming hot.

3. Ready in about 5 minutes

Enjoy!

How to Make Dark Chocolate

Do you like dark chocolate?

See results

© 2012 Sharon Bellissimo

Share your thoughts on the benefits of Dark Chocolate.......

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    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      4 years ago from New Zealand

      Must try some dark chocolate, haven't eaten it for many years as I seem to always get a headache.

      Have heard it's good for high blood pressure, but must be high in a cacao.

    • KandH profile image

      KandH 

      5 years ago

      This is really good to know, it'll make me choose dark chocolate even more now and thanks for the great options to try it, they all look so yummy!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 

      5 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Oh I love chocolate. I actually eat milk chocolate now and then, but I do try my best to stick to the dark variety.

    • profile image

      yoheb15 

      5 years ago

      I like milk chocolate more, but I follow very strict diets so I only allow myself to have dark chocolate. As I've continued to eat it as an occasional treat, I've started to really enjoy it. Loved the lens, particularly the recipe for the drink. I'll have to try it sometime soon.

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 

      5 years ago

      Great lens, it's nice to have your chocolate and eat it too!! mmmm...

    • profile image

      tomoxby 

      5 years ago

      Its interesting that if you start eating dark chocolate and then go back and try milk chocolate I find that it is too sweet. Love dark chocolate now.

    • profile image

      FashionMommy 

      5 years ago

      It's nice to know that you can indulge in dark chocolate and not feel too guilty about it! Very helpful and resourceful lens!

    • profile image

      nicolane 

      5 years ago

      I an an equal opportunities chocolate lover!

    • sharonbellis profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharon Bellissimo 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      @Torrs13: Yes, me too! I love chocolate.

    • profile image

      Torrs13 

      5 years ago

      Great information! Dark chocolate is so good! My problem comes when they say to eat it in moderation...

    • kevkev227 lm profile image

      kevkev227 lm 

      6 years ago

      Love all varieties :)

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 

      6 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      OMG I LOVE Dark Chocolate the darker the better! & the best thing.. no one else I know likes it lol so all for me! I've added this to my Beauty Balm for the next update (& possibly another lens or 2 favorite lenses lens at least)

    • playercoach profile image

      playercoach 

      6 years ago

      My doctor says I need to watch my intake of sweets. I learned quite a bit here from your lens. Nice job. Now I have some new things to talk to my doc about next visit, especially on the benefits of dark chocolate.

    • profile image

      Annamadagan 

      6 years ago

      Great lens. Dark chocolate is a great treat. Blessings!

    • profile image

      TopFiveBestDeals 

      6 years ago

      I agree!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I love dark chocolate it is much more satisfiying than regular chocolate.

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 

      6 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      I love chocolate, especially dark, but I try not to exaggerate...

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I like how dark chocolate is so rich that one or two squares is often enough to satisfy your craving. =]

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 

      6 years ago from New York

      Mmmmm. Chocolate. My favorite foodgroup. Nice to know one of the things I like to eat is not hazardous to my health.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Since learning about the health benefits of dark chocolate years ago it has been the only chocolate I eat. I'm at the point where I don't like the taste of regular chocolate and prefer dark. Great lens.

    • mikes-cool-stuff profile image

      mikes-cool-stuff 

      6 years ago

      I have heard that dark chocolate was good for you, but this lens puts all the pieces together, good work. Let me also thank you for liking one of my lenses.

    • natashaely profile image

      natashaely 

      6 years ago

      I love dark chocolate and I always make hot chocolate with chocolate rather than the powder, it is divine. This is a fabulous page and I have enjoyed reading about it, I can taste the chocolate now :)

    • lclchors profile image

      lclchors 

      6 years ago

      if I have an oz every nite or other nite I don't have a sweet tooth the rest of the time

    • puppyprints profile image

      puppyprints 

      6 years ago

      My Mom got me started eating dark chocolate - I really like it

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Wonderful information and very well written. I've sprinkled this lens with SquidAngel dust! :)

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 

      6 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Nice lens:) I also have one on chocolate...and the benefits of the dark variety

    • profile image

      momsfunny 

      6 years ago

      Another reason to enjoy dark chocolate.

    • ogrote profile image

      ogrote 

      6 years ago

      Not a big fan until I've read your lens. Very informative.

    • profile image

      myamya 

      6 years ago

      I love dark chocolate! nice lens!

    • rachelscott profile image

      rachelscott 

      6 years ago

      Splendid job!

    • ninakreativa profile image

      ninakreativa 

      6 years ago

      Dark chocolate is my all time favorite chocolate, no matter what for it comes in :) Great lens for dark chocoholics :)

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 

      6 years ago from Australia

      I do know the benefits of dark chocolate (apart from taste), but it is always a pleasure to be reassured of the advantages to such pleasure.

    • sharonbellis profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharon Bellissimo 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      @Margaret Schindel: That's great thank you! I am a complete chocoholic and it was a hard habit to kick; milk chocolate was once my fave - but now I eat only dark with no guilt, yay. Yours is a great fondue recipe, I'll be trying it soon :)

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      I've written about the benefits of dark chocolate in my Sophisticated Dark Chocolate Fondue with Honey and Cognac recipe lens, but since that topic is the entire focus of your lens, you've gone into much more detail, which is great! I'll be linking to this lens from my dark chocolate fondue recipe lens in the Explore Related Lenses section (in the right-hand column). Thanks for sharing! :)

    • profile image

      AnimalHouse 

      6 years ago

      Grabbing that dark chocolate bar already.

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 

      6 years ago from Havre de Grace

      It's nice that something so delicious is actually good for you too! Great lens!

    • sherridan profile image

      sherridan 

      6 years ago

      Wonderful lens - just the excuse I needed to nip out for a dark chocolate pick me up!

    • profile image

      getwellsoon 

      6 years ago

      Since I do not do well with a lot of sweet treats, dark chocolate is perfect for me!

    • sharonbellis profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharon Bellissimo 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      @anonymous: Added a module to my dark chocolate lens - it is a "brain booster" thanks for the insight!

    • profile image

      DebMartin 

      6 years ago

      I love the dark chocolate drink recipe. Thanks for that. I had never thought of using almond milk. What a great idea. d

    • sharonbellis profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharon Bellissimo 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      @anonymous: hmmm..something to investigate! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Somewhere I read dark chocolate can boost your memory. Have you heard about this?

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 

      6 years ago

      Wow, pretty awesome lens! I love anything chocolate and it's great to hear that dark chocolate is actually good for you. Bring on the dark chocolate! =D

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I hope scientists never change their minds about the benefits of dark chocolate. It's my fave!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      As a child I always wanted dark chocolate. I was overjoyed to hear things recently about it being healthy. Thanks for reinforcing that.

    • profile image

      Tamara14 

      6 years ago

      First thing that always comes to my mind when someone mentions dark chocolate is that gorgeous movie Chocolate. I've enjoyed watching her make all those hot chocolate drinks and all those pure dark chocolate sweets that have nothing to do with all these "like chocolate" stuff we eat today. Great reminder this lens, thanks :)

    • sharonbellis profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharon Bellissimo 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      @Wayne Rasku: Yes me too, but many people I know just don't like it and find it bitter, even the best brands, I am usually the recipient of the unwanted dark chocolate in their gift baskets at Christmas time!

    • Wayne Rasku profile image

      Wayne Rasku 

      6 years ago

      I am surprised that dark chocolate may be an acquired taste. I have loved it from the very first bite!

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