Normal chocolate is sugar, with some cacao and milk and not very healthy or nutritious. Dark chocolate on the contrary, with at least 70% cacao content can be quite the opposite.
Studies have shown that dark chocolate can lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
100 grams of Dark chocolate with 70-85% cacao content, contains fiber, manganese, iron, Magnesium, copper, potassium, zinc, selenium and phosphorus. I’ll spare you the exact numbers but with 100 grams you will already get more than 50% of Iron, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese.
(Depending on the chocolate, 100 grams will also contain quite some sugar, so I don’t recommend this on a daily basis.)
Another major benefit of dark chocolate is their high content in anti-oxidants. Cocoa beans, from which dark chocolate is made, are among the highest ranking foods for the ORAC score, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity or simply the anti oxidant activity.
In a study cocoa beans were tested against other fruits such as acai- and blueberries, which are both containing many antioxidants. Cocoa dominated both of them.
Knowledge base: Antioxidants are important since they tend to decrease inflammation, improve your heart health, help you decrease your risk for infections and even cancer. Interestingly antioxidants in form of supplements didn’t achieve those effects.
There has been some buzz around how dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure, but there is no 100% proof for that. Many studies indicate a mild reduction in blood pressure, but another study didn’t find any effect at all.
Researcher also found out that the mass of antioxidants in dark chocolate, reduce the amount of cell damaging oxidized LDL (“bad cholesterol”), while simulatenously, increasing the amount of HDL (“good cholesterol”).
Two interesting studies showed that eating chocolate at least 2 times per week, decreased the calcified plaque in your arteries by 32%. The other study showed that eating dark chocolate at least 5 times per week, reduce the risk for CVD by 57%.
(Since those studies were observational studies, it is not 100% sure that dark chocolate was responsible for those reduced risks, but given the biological mechanisms of reducing LDL and raising HDL, the connection might be correct.)
All in all dark chocolate can have many positive effects on your health, as well as on your mood. As I said before, overindulging in it won’t be good, but dark chocolate is way better than the regular sugary crap.
One problem with dark chocolate is that it taste quite bitter, especially if you’re used to milk chocolate. Trust me your taste will adjust. Start with a lower cacao percentage and work your way up.
Recently I’ve found a 92% chocolate that only contains three ingredients: cocoa mass, cocoa butter and coconut blossom sugar.
Fact: The difference between cacao and cocoa is that cacao is the purest form you can consume and it’s made by cold pressing unfrosted cocao beans. Cocoa on the other hand is raw cacao that’s been roasted on high temperatures.
Steps to take:
- Check the cacao content of your chocolate.
- Try chocolate with 70 or 80 % cacao content.