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
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.
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
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!
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!
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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
“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.
“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/.
“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/.