Updated: Aug 2, 2021
Although chocolate seems like a guilty treat to consume, it has become widely acknowledged in the scientific community that dark chocolate, with cocoa content above 70%.
In a 100g bar of dark chocolate, there are:
11 grams of fibre
67% of the RDI for iron
58% of the RDI for magnesium
89% of the RDI for copper
98% of the RDI for manganese
It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium
Of course, you should not eat 100g of dark chocolate each day as it also comes with 600 calories and plenty of sugar in some brands. Hence, you should consume dark chocolate in moderation.
Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, flavanols and catechins, and many others, which functions as antioxidants. For example, polyphenols have been shown to keep the blood pressure stable, increase flexibility in blood vessels to ensure good blood circulation, and help control blood sugar levels. Flavanols are responsible for the dark colour in the chocolate bar and contribute to many benefits such as anti-inflammatory effects and protecting your cells from oxidative damage that can lead to disease. "These dietary antioxidants can prevent the development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and cognitive diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia."Furthermore, catechins are also a group of antioxidants that helps to protect cells from oxidative damage to decrease signs of ageing and free radicals, which can alter proteins and cells to result in mutations and diseases.
The flavanols may improve blood flow and blood pressure as "the flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce nitric oxide (NO)." NO is a molecule that signals the vessels to relax, hence improving blood flow in individuals. Also, as dark chocolate contains lots of cocoa, the abundance of antioxidants in cocoa that protects lipoproteins against oxidative damage, resulting in a lower LDL (bad) cholesterol level while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol and improving insulin sensitivity, which helps your cells to metabolism glucose more effectively for energy instead of storing them as fat cells.
As dark chocolate also contains lots of cocoa, it may also significantly improve cognitive function in older people with mental impairment. Furthermore, it may improve verbal fluency and several risk factors for disease. Additionally, cocoa contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which help to improve attention and clarity within the brain in the short term.
Although dark chocolate has its benefits, keep in mind to consume them in moderation as they are high in calories. Some brands may also try to mask the bitter taste by adding excess sugar, leading to other negative effects.
Therefore, it is important to look for dark chocolate that is low in sugar (under 15g in 100g serving) or look to other brands that use naturally derived sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit, such as Lily's Sweets which contains less than 1g of sugar in each serving and Jojo's Chocolate that contains innovative flavours like coconut macadamia, raspberry dream, and peanut butter chocolate.
Here are some delicious recipes for dark chocolate: