Chocolate is among the most preferred and most popular foods in the world. As the amount of cocoa in the content of chocolate increases, its health benefits increase. In particular, low consumption of low-processed dark chocolate provides support for the proper functioning of many mechanisms in the body. Chocolate is one of the sources of good antioxidants. Dark chocolate, known as ‘black chocolate’, is made from cocoa tree, butter, sugar, and roasted cocoa beans. It is also more unpleasant than other milk chocolate. The best dark chocolate contains 70% to 99% cocoa. In other words, the more bitter the chocolate is, the better quality it is. Dark chocolate also contains many nutrients that are beneficial for health. These; soluble fiber is potassium, manganese, zinc, selenium, copper, magnesium and iron.
Prefer over 70% cocoa and dark chocolate.
Cocoa, the raw material of chocolate, has a strong antioxidant structure. With this feature, it provides many benefits to health. To take advantage of this powerful antioxidant effect, several criteria should be considered when choosing chocolate. The less the amount of cocoa is processed, the more antioxidant effect remains. Therefore, less processed dark chocolate products containing 70% cocoa should be preferred. The amount of sugar in milk chocolate can be very high. Also, milk powder etc. Since they contain substances, they can negatively affect the immune system. When choosing chocolate, the sugar ratio should be checked.
Dark Chocolate Nutritional Values
A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70–85% cocoa contains :
- 11 gr of fiber
- 67% of the RDI for iron
- 58% of the RDI for magnesium
- 89% of the RDI for copper
- 98% of the RDI for manganese
- potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium
Of course, 100 grams is a fairly large amount and not something you should be consuming daily. All these nutrients also come with 600 calories and moderate amounts of sugar.
Nutritional Content of a 70-85% Cacao Bar
- 170 calories
- 12 grams of fat
- 13 grams carbs
- 1 gram dietary fiber
- 8 grams of sugars
- 2 grams of protein
- 7 mg calcium
- 203 mg potassium
What Does it Take to Burn Off These Calories?
- 44 minutes of walking
- 14 minutes of swimming
- 19 minutes jogging
- 23 minutes cycling
Benefits of Dark Chocolate
It has antioxidant effect.
Cocoa contains preservatives that damage tissues thanks to its high antioxidant content. With this feature, it shows a protective effect against inflammation caused by the emergence of diseases.
In one study, the researchers concluded that eating 30 g of 84 percent dark chocolate every day for 8 weeks significantly reduced inflammatory biomarkers in people with type 2 diabetes.
Dark chocolate has an important place in terms of cardiovascular health. LDL plays an important role in lowering and balancing cholesterol thanks to intense antioxidants that cause plaque formation in veins and are expressed as bad cholesterol. However, HDL, defined as good cholesterol and having a sweeping-cleaning effect, increases the level of cholesterol and provides a protective effect. (1)
One study found that eating dark chocolate more than 5 times a week reduced the risk of heart disease by 57%. (2)
Another study found that cocoa reduced the risk of death from heart disease by 50% over a 15-year period. (3)
You can count on dark chocolate to get rid of stress or a messy mood. This chocolate neurotransmitter is a natural antidepressant that helps increase serotonin levels.
In studies conducted and published by scientists, it has been confirmed that chemical compounds in dark chocolate play an important role in lowering high stress levels.
Studies have shown that the stress hormone levels in the body of people who eat 1.4 grams of dark chocolate daily for 2 weeks are reduced.
In addition, dark chocolate has magnesium that helps fight stress, fatigue, depression and irritability. When eating chocolate to combat stress, make sure that the cocoa in it is 75% or more.
Protects the Skin
Skin texture is one of the structures that have the ability to renew itself quickly. The correct and high quality foods consumed are to support the skin from the inside. Thanks to its polyphenol compounds in dark chocolate, it keeps the skin moist and has positive effects in improving dermatitis and skin rashes. It also helps in maintaining the skin’s elastic structure, strengthening and even skin tone. It shows its most important effect by increasing the collagen production and strengthening the skin’s self-renewal capacity. In research, it is stated that flavonols can protect against sun damage, improve blood flow in the skin, and increase skin density and hydration. (4)
Improves Intelligence and Brain Functions
According to some researches; The increase in the amount of blood going to the brain makes the person to be more careful and alert, thus learning becomes easier. (5)
Remember, the type of chocolate that has the mentioned properties is dark chocolate with lots of flavonoids. The most flavonoid-containing chocolates are those with at least 70% cocoa content.
Improves vision clarity
Dark chocolate with a high cocoa ratio contains intensely flavonol varieties. Recent studies reveal that these healthy chemicals increase the brain-blood flow. This suggests that dark chocolate may be effective in the mental treatment step of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In addition, several scientific studies indicate that dark chocolate improves the viewing angle, increases its clarity and contributes to a wider perspective in terms of vision.
Daily Chocolate Consumption
It is difficult to know how much dark chocolate a person should consume to maximize their health benefits. In these studies, 20-30 gr dark chocolate is used daily. Considering the averages, consumption of 20-30 g dark chocolate per day is not bad at all.