For many years, chocolate has been viewed as the ultimate comfort food and it has become one of the most popular foods in the world. However, due to the over consumption of this silky, dark, sweet food many health practitioners warn against it. They say that it’s calorie-laden and does little in the way of ‘real’ nutrition.
The question is: are there any health benefits to consuming dark chocolate?
Obviously, over-consumption of any food can have a detrimental effect on general health. Recent studies, however, have shown that consumption (in moderation of course) of dark chocolate has many health benefits. So eating about an ounce of dark chocolate every day is actually a good thing!
The first question that many may ask is: why dark chocolate, not milk chocolate?
Dark chocolate has more fiber and nutrients, but less sugars and cholesterol.
When purchasing dark chocolate, look for ones with a cacao percentage of 70% and more. A favourite is Lindt brand!
The Main Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
- It improves your skin
Dark chocolate contains lots of flavanols, which protect the skin against sun damage. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can do without sun screen! However, it does mean that the flavanols will reduce the damage on the skin due to the sun.
- It’s nutritious
Dark chocolate contains minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and manganese, zinc, potassium and selenium. It is also a good source of fiber, containing about 11 grams.
- Good source of antioxidants
Dark chocolate also contains a vast amount of antioxidants, which are great for promoting heart health, decreasing risk of infection, and fighting free radicals in the body. The cocoa tree is one of the best source of antioxidants on the planet. This means that its fruits – the cocoa pods also have antioxidant properties. Many studies have shown dark chocolate to have a higher amount of antioxidants than blueberries or Acai berries!
Dark chocolate has 22% more iron, four times more fiber and 242 grams more theobromine (the alkaloid which reduces blood pressure) per half bar than milk chocolate. It becomes clear that dark chocolate has many health benefits.
It is also worth considering that dark chocolate has less carbs and half the sugar of milk chocolate!
Now go have an ounce of dark chocolate - just make sure you don’t over indulge!