Written by Nicole Guyette
Part of National Nutrition Month 2014
Many people think chocolate is sinful, but what if this isn’t true? Chocolate actually has some great qualities. What? Sounds crazy, right? Except, it’s not. Chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, has a ton of health benefits found in its delicious taste. Don’t believe me? Well, you’re in for a treat.
Dark chocolate has high levels of cocoa with little added sugar. When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate has a lot of benefits. What are those benefits? I thought you’d never ask. Dark chocolate can have positive effect on cholesterol levels by lowering LDL cholesterol. The antioxidants in dark chocolate can decrease blood clots, increase blood flow, and lower blood pressure. Did I debunk the myth? Are you convinced that chocolate isn’t always bad for you? It’s okay, there’s more. Dark chocolate can increase levels of serotonin and endorphin in the brain, increasing your mood while eating it. When eaten regularly, it has even been shown to help cognitive function in older populations. On top of all that, it contains important minerals such as calcium and potassium. Keep in mind, this is only true for dark chocolate. Milk, white, and other forms of chocolate don’t have these benefits!
Now, this doesn’t mean you should run to the store, buy the biggest bag of dark chocolate and eat it all in one sitting. Dark chocolate is only good in moderation. In fact, 7 oz a week (1 oz a day) is the recommended intake. That’s about a business card’s worth of chocolate a day!
So go ahead and eat some guilt free dark chocolate. Remember to always look for DARK on labels! How are you going to enjoy yours? A mug of dark hot chocolate? Dark chocolate covered fruit? Always remember, you can enjoy the taste of eating right!
University of Michigan Integrative Medicine. (n.d.). Dark chocolate. Retrieved from http://www.med.umich.edu/umim/food-pyramid/dark_chocolate.htm
Disclaimer: Commercial products are named in this publication for informational purposes only. Virginia Cooperative Extension does not endorse these products and does not intend discrimination against other products which also may be suitable.