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Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate may be a great option if you tend to have a sweet tooth or reach for something sweet after meals. Unlike processed snacks, most baked goods, and other desserts, dark chocolate provides health benefits! 


Dark chocolate has been shown to support heart health, boost mood, and provide antioxidants. 


Chocolate is made from cocoa, which is what gives it health benefits. So, the higher the cocoa content in the chocolate, the more beneficial your dark chocolate will be. To reap chocolate’s health benefits, aim to eat chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa. 


5 Essential Nutrients in Dark Chocolate


1. Antioxidants: Chocolate contains many compounds that function as antioxidants, which protect the body against free radicals. Some of these compounds include polyphenols, flavonols, and catechins. The flavonols in cocoa may help improve blood flow and allow for a decrease in blood pressure. The polyphenols in dark chocolate may even help lower some forms of LDL cholesterol.1

2. Magnesium: Magnesium is well known for its role in muscle relaxation and sleep support, but it is also essential for assisting over 300 enzymes in chemical reactions throughout the body, such as heart rhythm, nerve impulse, muscle contraction, and building proteins.2 Chocolate is a good source of magnesium; therefore, it can help support the body in these important functions. 
One ounce of chocolate contains 64.6mg of magnesium

3. Copper: Chocolate also contains copper, an essential mineral for many body functions. Copper is involved in energy production, iron metabolism, and the production of connective tissue and neurotransmitters. Copper also supports brain development and immune function.3 
One ounce of chocolate contains 0.5mg of copper

4. Iron: Red meat is often the first thing that comes to mind when you think of iron sources, but did you know dark chocolate also contains iron? Iron plays an important role in transporting oxygen throughout the body since it is a major component of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Chocolate contains non-heme iron, which is the iron found in plant foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens.4 
One ounce of chocolate contains 3.37mg of iron

5. Fiber: It may also be surprising to learn that dark chocolate is a source of fiber. Fiber plays a role in preventing constipation, supporting heart health, and keeping you full. Some foods higher in fiber are whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. While chocolate shouldn’t be your primary fiber source, it is a nice benefit of this sweet treat! 
One ounce of chocolate contains 3.09g of fiber

Because of these nutrients, dark chocolate can benefit your heart health, boost your mood, and provide antioxidants. Since chocolate can often contain higher amounts of saturated fat, added sugars, and caffeine, it is still important to consume it in moderation. Next time you are craving a sweet treat, reach for dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa and enjoy the nutritional benefits, as well as its smooth, decadent flavor!


If you’re looking to take your health goals even further and get the right about of nutrients your body needs, consider a personalized nutrition approach. It can help you create a health and nutrition plan that’s tailored to your unique, DNA-based needs, dietary preferences, and current lifestyle. 


Our at-home DNA test will give you a personalized nutrition analysis that’ll provide detailed genetic-based results. You’ll discover your personal needs for 23 different nutrients, 100+ foods that are best for your genes, your eating and stress predispositions, and any sensitivities to lactose, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol. 


If you’d like hands-on support to help you reach your health goals, our registered dietitians offer one-on-one virtual consults. They’ll walk side-by-side with you throughout your health journey and help you create a plan that’ll help you achieve your weight, diet, exercise, hydration, and sleep goals.


References:

  1. Lee, Y., Berryman, C. E., West, S. G., Chen, C. O., Blumberg, J. B., Lapsley, K. G., Preston, A. G., Fleming, J. A., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2017). Effects of Dark Chocolate and Almonds on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Individuals: A Randomized Controlled-Feeding Trial. Journal of the American Heart Association, 6(12), e005162. https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.116.005162 
  2. “Office of Dietary Supplements - Magnesium.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#en3. 
  3. “Office of Dietary Supplements - Copper.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Copper-HealthProfessional/. 
  4. “Office of Dietary Supplements - Iron.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/. 

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