10 Dark Chocolate Health Benefits And More

Medically reviewed by G. Liakeas, MD FACT CHECKED

The history of dark chocolates dates back to 2000 BC. Dark chocolates were drunk as a fermented beverage along with added spices. Chocolates are manufactured using cacao seeds.

Unlike other chocolates such as white chocolate and milk chocolate, dark chocolates are loaded with nutrients and benefits which may leave a positive impact on your body.

In this article, you will learn how dark chocolate could have various other benefits on your body besides having a delicious flavor.

Dark Chocolate Health Benefits
  1. Contains Powerful Antioxidants

    Antioxidants are important for your body to promote heart health and prevent cell damage. Antioxidants also help to prevent cancer.

    Dark chocolates are considered powerful antioxidants. It contains various compounds which have antioxidant properties such as flavanols, catechins, and polyphenols.

    These antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. Flavanols also prevent damage to cells that cause aging. 

  1. May Reduce The Risk Of Diabetes

    Dark chocolates have been found to reduce the risk of diabetes. The presence of flavanols is associated with insulin sensitivity.

    More sensitivity towards insulin means that you are at a lower risk of developing diabetes.

    Dark chocolates fight against insulin resistance which is a condition in which the body stops responding to insulin. 
  1. May Protect From Skin Damage

    Eating dark chocolates may protect your skin from damage and also protect it from harmful sun rays.

    Dark chocolates contain several bioactive compounds which can prove beneficial for your skin.

    The flavanols present in dark chocolates can play a crucial role in protecting your skin from sun damage.

    It improves the blood flow to the skin and also increases skin density and hydration.
  1. Microbiome Diversity

    Consuming dark chocolates may increase microbiome diversity which means it increases the number of good bacteria in your gut.

    The good bacteria which are present towards the end of the gut ferment both the fiber and the antioxidants present in cocoa which in turn helps to improve digestive functions.

  1. Improve Cognitive Function

    Dark chocolate may also improve your brain health. Another benefit of flavonoids present in dark chocolates is that they can improve cognitive function.

    It can improve focus, and memory and also improve blood flow to the brain. Additionally, dark chocolates may also improve verbal fluency. 

  1. May Help You To Lose Weight

    Chocolates have always been associated with weight gain but dark chocolate can help you lose weight. Dark chocolate can prevent you from consuming excessive calories.

    Eating small pieces of dark chocolates before and after your meal sends a signal to the brain that you are full, which further controls your appetite and reduces total calorie intake.

    However, it should be noted that eating excess amounts of dark chocolates can do the reverse and might increase your weight. 

  1. May Reduce The Risk Of Heart Diseases

    Eating dark chocolates might help you maintain your heart health. Eating dark chocolates increases good cholesterol and prevents the oxidation of LDL.

    This would prevent bad cholesterol from getting accumulated within the arteries which in turn may reduce the risk of heart diseases. Dark chocolates can reduce blood pressure as well.

    Due to their ability to reduce blood pressure, dark chocolates can also reduce the risk of getting a stroke.

    In addition to this, dark chocolates have also been discovered with the benefit of having anti-clotting effects.
  1. Anti Inflammatory Effects

    Dark chocolate contains some anti-inflammatory compounds which can help to reduce inflammation. Flavanol present in cocoa can reduce inflammation.

    Flavonoids keep the endothelial cells lining the arteries healthy which helps in reducing inflammation.

    In addition to this, polyphenols present in dark chocolates also have anti-inflammatory effects. 
  1. Contains High Amounts Of Fibers And Uplifts Mood

    Dark chocolates are a rich source of dietary fibers. They contain significant amounts of soluble fibers. Soluble fiber helps in keeping cholesterol levels in check.

    A 100 grams of 70 to 85 percent dark chocolate contains around 11 grams of fibers. On the other hand, white chocolate and milk chocolates do not contain fiber in them.

    In addition to this, dark chocolates also uplift the mood of an individual. It was found that even the aroma of dark chocolates can enhance one’s mood and release stress.  

Is Dark Chocolate Good For You?

Dark chocolate is derived from cacao which is a plant rich in various minerals and antioxidants. It is rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc.

As compared to milk chocolates, dark chocolates are much lesser in sugars and calories. Other than this, dark chocolates contain antioxidants known as flavonoids which could prove very beneficial for your health.

Dark chocolates contain around 50 to 60 percent of cocoa solids which are associated with several benefits such as-

  • Reducing free radicals
  • Improving blood flow
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Lowering bad cholesterol
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reducing insulin resistance
  • Increasing microbiome diversity

However, dark chocolates should also be eaten within the limit as they are nonetheless chocolates that are high in calories. To maintain a balanced diet, you need to keep a watch on your calories.

Is Dark Chocolate Vegan?

Dark chocolate contains cocoa solids and cocoa butter but it does not contain milk or butter which is found in milk chocolates. Dark chocolates have a significantly higher cocoa content in them.

Most vegan-friendly chocolates have around 70 percent cocoa content. Dark chocolates are mostly vegan. However, in some cases, manufacturers add ingredients like milk fat as it reduces the cost of production.

So, you should not assume that dark chocolates are dairy-free. Chocolates that have 70 percent or more cocoa content in them are considered vegan friendly.

To find out whether or not dark chocolate is vegan, you must check the list of the ingredients before purchasing. Individuals with milk allergies should especially the label before buying any chocolate.

Is Dark Chocolate Healthy?

Dark chocolates have numerous health benefits. Apart from being a good antioxidant, it is especially good for heart health as it prevents the oxidation of LDL or bad cholesterol and maintains the level of good cholesterol in the body.

They could also help relieve blood pressure by facilitating proper blood flow into the arteries. Dark chocolates may improve brain functioning as well.

It increases the amount of blood flow to the skin which in turn protects the skin from dryness and sun damage. The cocoa present in dark chocolates has several health benefits as well.

However, it should be noted that many chocolates available in the market are not nutritious. You should avoid consuming milk chocolates if you are aiming to gain health benefits.

You should choose chocolates that have 70 percent or higher cocoa content in them. Generally, dark chocolates are sweetened with sugars but the amount of sugar used is considerably lower than other chocolates.

The darker the chocolate is, the less sugar content it has. Therefore, having one or two squares of dark chocolate after dinner may add to your daily nutritional intake and provide you with several benefits.

Dark chocolates are delicious and easy to overeat, so make sure you consume them within limits to avoid excess calorie intake.

How Much Dark Chocolate Should You Eat In A Day?

A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70 to 80 percent cocoa solid contains 604 calories which means that you may not eat dark chocolates in unlimited amounts.

Experts say that one may have 30 to 60 grams of dark chocolates per day. Remember that you cannot replace healthy foods with dark chocolate.

Studies have shown that a medium-sized apple contains 95 calories which is much less than dark chocolates. Therefore, you could consume dark chocolates within limits to gain its numerous benefits.

Does Dark Chocolate Have Caffeine?

Cocoa beans, upon liquefaction, forms cocoa butter and cocoa solids. Both cocoa butter and cocoa solids are used to make chocolates. However, cocoa butter does not contain any amount of caffeine.

Cocoa solids, on the other hand, are rich in caffeine. The amount of caffeine in chocolates is determined by how dark it is. High amounts of cocoa solids imply higher amounts of caffeine.

Dark chocolates contain around 12 milligrams of caffeine per ounce. Milk chocolates contain 9 milligrams of caffeine per ounce. White chocolates do not contain caffeine at all. This article confirms the above data.

Conclusion

Dark chocolates have several health benefits. It is regarded as one of the best sources of antioxidants. Dark chocolates are good for heart health, brain health, and skin.

It may improve blood flow and work as an anti-inflammatory food. It may also prevent insulin resistance. Dark chocolates are a healthier choice when compared to other chocolates such as milk and white chocolate.

You could reap multiple benefits from it, but make sure to avoid overeating it.

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