Is Dark Chocolate Healthy? What Does Science Say!

Dark Chocolate has been gaining an excellent reputation in the world of foodies for a few years. But, Is dark chocolate good for your health? Most chocolate lovers and health-conscious people have this question.

So, is dark chocolate healthy? 

Yes, the quick answer is that dark chocolate is good for your health. However, not all types of dark chocolates are the same. Some of the dark chocolates can have side effects too. It all depends on the amount of Cocoa, sugar, and trans fat in the dark chocolate that you are eating.

In this article, we will be covering the full list of benefits and side effects of eating dark chocolate.

What is Dark Chocolate Made up of?

Let’s take a look at the nutritional information of dark chocolate. This will better help you understand whether it is healthy or not. We’ll also take a look at dark chocolate ingredients.

Some interesting facts about chocolate – Infographic

Ingredients

Cocoa beans are the main ingredient of dark chocolate. These beans grow on cocoa trees and then are crushed to make cocoa powder. After that, they go through a process of drying and fermenting. Then, these beans are used to make dark chocolate.

The fermentation process is the reason why some dark chocolate bars taste different from others. The flavor comes from the bean itself so where it was grown and how it is fermented makes the taste different. 

Some of the dark chocolates also contain added sugar and fats. 

Dark Chocolate Nutrition

A 28-gram bar of dark chocolate contains 155 calories in it. Here is someone starting nutritional facts about dark chocolate.

Nutrients% Daily Values
Total fat 8.9 g14%
Cholesterol 2.3 mg1%
Sodium 6.8 mg0%
Carbohydrates 17 g6%
Dietary fiber 2 g8%
Sugar 14 g
Protein 1.4 g
Calcium 16 mg1%
Iron 2 mg13%
Potassium 158 mg3%
Caffeine 12.2 mg

The percentage of all these nutrients and their combination in different types of dark chocolate bars decide whether they are healthy or not. The more saturated fat and sugar, the unhealthier the dark chocolate is.

As you’ve read, the main ingredient of dark chocolate is cocoa. And cocoa contains some chemicals which are healthy for your body. Cocoa contains many antioxidants like flavonoids, polyphenols, procyanidins, catechins, etc. These compounds can fight off the free radicals in your body. Free radicals are responsible for many diseases, inflammation, aging, etc.

Is Dark Chocolate Healthy? Pros & Cons!

Dark Chocolate contains a lot of healthy nutrients that are good for your health. Consumption of dark chocolate makes you feel healthy and energetic. 

The other name of dark chocolate is love drug. Because it arouses the same feelings in a person as if one is in love. In addition to it, dark chocolate contains vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, caffeine, and other natural antioxidants.

How dark the chocolate depends upon the amount of cocoa beans in it.  Here are some scientifically proven beneficial health effects of dark chocolate along with a few drawbacks of eating too much dark chocolate.

Benefits

According to a recent discovery, dark chocolate has several health benefits. Scientific researchers discovered that the nutrients present in dark chocolate are beneficial for the human body in the following different ways.

Improves  Heart Health

According to some studies, if you are eating dark chocolate a few times a week it can help reduce your blood pressure, regulate blood flow, and help prevent clot formation in blood vessels. 

One of the burning issues regarding heart health is atherosclerosis. ‘Atherosclerosis’ means the collection of fatty substances inside your blood vessels. The arteries of the heart, the coronary arteries, are places where this atherosclerosis occurs.

So, the more atherosclerosis you have, the more the chances you have of developing a heart attack, stroke, DVT, etc. The antioxidants in dark chocolate help reduce this atherosclerosis.

So, Is dark chocolate good for your heart? Yes, it is evident that if you eat dark chocolate, it also reduces the risk of many diseases including arteriosclerosis. So, it reduces the risk of many diseases that are related to the heart.

Helps in Weight Loss

Is dark chocolate good for weight loss? Most people get surprised to know that chocolate can help you burn excess calories. Dark chocolate has the ability to make you feel less hungry.

So, by including some squares of dark chocolate in your sweet dish, you can fulfill your cravings for chocolate. Along with that, by reducing your intake of calories, you can lose weight.

Reduces Stress

Dark Chocolate stimulates the production of some hormones. These hormones are called endorphins. Our brain produces these hormones. These are the chemicals that give you feelings of happiness.

It also contains the chemical serotonin which acts to manage your stress levels. Hence, dark chocolate can improve your mood, ultimately helping in weight loss too.

Provides Vitamins and Minerals

Dark Chocolate contains various vitamins and minerals that play a part in supporting and maintaining your health. Potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron are common among these nutrients.

Copper and potassium help prevent heart diseases and stroke. Iron in chocolate is good if you have iron deficiency anemia. Magnesium helps pre prevent 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Curb Your Cravings

Research proves that dark chocolate has the ability to make your stomach full so that you don’t eat anything extra. They contain a good amount of monounsaturated fatty acids. They boost your metabolism and help burn fat.

When you eat dark chocolate in a moderate quantity, it slows down your digestion process and curbs your cravings.

Enhances Your Focus

One of the most wonderful benefits of dark chocolate is that it can supply more blood to your brain. Dark chocolates contain various substances which can widen the blood vessels. This can increase the blood flowing into your brain. So it helps you to focus on your task.

So, if you have an exam or you need to stay focused at work, snacking on some chocolate can help you to improve your memory and boosts your brain abilities. The anti-inflammatory action of cocoa can also reduce the risk of diseases like dementia.

Protects Your Skin

Most people ask, Is dark chocolate good for your skin? Yes, dark chocolate is very beneficial for healthy and glowing skin.

Dark Chocolate improves blood flow which is very good for the health of your skin. Eating a  few squares of dark chocolate every day can keep your skin radiant. It can also prevent sun damage.

Reduces Inflammation

Antioxidants present in dark chocolate protect you against heart diseases. They also protect your body against other diseases by balancing out the damage that free radicals cause to your body cells.

These antioxidants are very good to prevent inflammation. That reduces the damage and breakdown in the body that is caused by free radicals and combats diseases. So, the answer to the question, ‘is dark chocolate healthy’ is undoubtedly yes.

Side Effects

Even though it’s very healthy, dark chocolates can have some side effects too. You can only have the benefits of dark chocolate when you eat it in moderation. Otherwise, it can have the following side effects.

Harmful Effects of Caffeine

The percentage of caffeine is higher in dark chocolate as compared to both milk chocolate and white chocolate. According to research, consuming high amounts of caffeine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, and even migraines.

Caffeine can also cause an abnormal rise in blood pressure. In large doses, it can result in difficulty in focus or concentration. It can also cause insomnia. So you should not eat too much dark chocolate before getting to sleep. 

Risk of Kidney Stones

Dark chocolate may increase your chances of kidney stones. It is an unpleasant condition that causes hard deposits of salts and minerals to form in your kidneys. 

Dark Chocolate contains compounds called oxalates, which can put you at more risk of developing kidney stones. If you have been diagnosed with any kind of kidney problem, you should avoid eating dark chocolate.

Migraine Headaches

Anyone who suffers from chronic migraine should think twice before eating dark chocolate. There is a natural chemical, found in dark chocolate called tyramine, that triggers migraine headaches.

If it is high in sugar, it can also cause headaches. So it is best to avoid dark chocolate if you have a migraine or headaches.

Dark Chocolate Vs Milk chocolate

White chocolate or milk chocolate is a bit different from dark chocolate. It contains cocoa butter, milk, and sugar. So, it is just a sugar bomb without the same amount of nutrients as dark chocolate.

It is basically that you take dark chocolate and add a lot of sugar and milk to it. This brings down all its health benefits. On the other hand, dark chocolate contains millions of health benefits. It contains 70 perfect cocoa. 

This higher amount of cocoa is responsible for its health benefits. Because, the higher the cocoa percentage, the more flavonoids it will contain. That means a higher antioxidant potential and a lower risk of diseases.

So, is dark chocolate healthy? Yes, definitely it is! Dark chocolate has more advantages compared to its side effects. Hence, it can be considered a healthy food. 

FAQs

Question: How much dark chocolate should I eat a day?

Answer: According to some studies, it is better to eat an ounce of dark chocolate three to four times a week. This moderate amount of dark chocolate can help your body digest the food you consume,  inhibit insulin resistance, and provide many other health benefits.

Question: why is dark chocolate bad for you?

Answer: Dark Chocolate can be bad for you if you eat too much of it. This is because the high amount of caffeine in dark chocolate can cause insomnia and can trigger headaches.

Question: which dark chocolate is healthiest?

Answer: Dark chocolate that contains 70 percent or more cocoa is the healthiest. This is because the high amount of cocoa increases the number of antioxidants in the chocolate that is good for your health.

Question: Is dark chocolate healthier than milk chocolate?

Answer: Yes, dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate as milk chocolate contains a lot of added sugar, milk, and butter which are not good for health and can cause weight gain.

Bottom Line

Is dark chocolate healthy? Yes, adding dark chocolate to your diet can be a great option for a healthy lifestyle. But remember, that a high amount of dark chocolate can cause a caffeine overdose. This can be dangerous for your health.

A key point to remember, while eating dark chocolate is to make sure that it is dark chocolate with a good percentage of cocoa and is not high in added sugar and fats.

Haleema Sadia

Haleema Sadia

A physiotherapist by profession, a Nutritionist by passion, a literarian by soul, and a writer by heart!

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