The average American consumes about 12 pounds of chocolate each year, and over $75 billion is spent annually worldwide on chocolate. With all this chocolate eating, only dark chocolate has the health benefits.
The secret ingredient that makes chocolate healthy is cacao. Packed with high omega’s, healthy chemicals like flavonoids and theobromine, making it a disease killing machine. It takes approximately 400 cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate.
Chocolate isn’t chocolate if it has no cocoa solids or cocoa liquor. White chocolate isn’t really chocolate and really has no health benefits. Recent studies also show that milk interferes with the absorption of antioxidants. So unless it’s dark chocolate, all other types of chocolate does nothing for you besides tasting good and adding extra calories.
5 Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
- Improves Heart Health
- Great for Memory
- Helps lower blood pressure
- Rich in antioxidants including vitamins, minerals and phytochemical
- Protects body from disease
Dark chocolate has a much richer flavor than milk chocolate because of the high cocoa content. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the stronger the taste. Cocoa in its natural form is a bit bitter and strong-tasting. Chocolate makers tone this taste down by a process called alkalizing, adding milk, sugar and either fermenting or roasting the chocolate. All of which alter the health benefits of chocolate by destroying the flavanols and not allowing our bodies to use them.
1 oz. of dark chocolate with 70 percent to 85 percent cacao solids contains around:
- 168 calories
- 12.8 grams carbohydrates
- 2.2 grams protein
- 12 grams fat
- 3.1 grams fiber
- 0.5 milligram manganese (27 percent DV)
- 0.5 milligram copper (25 percent DV)
- 3.3 milligrams iron (19 percent DV)
- 63.8 milligrams magnesium (16 percent DV)
- 86.2 milligrams phosphorus (9 percent DV)
- 200 milligrams potassium (6 percent DV)
- 0.9 miligram zinc (6 percent DV)
- 2 micrograms vitamin K (3 percent DV)
- 1.9 micrograms selenium (3 percent DV)
- 20.4 milligrams calcium (2 percent DV)
Because of its high fat content, it is best to limit yourself to 7oz a week. Best to combine with nuts such as almonds for a richer antioxidant effect. Adding dark chocolate to pancakes, mixing it with granola for a snack or simply just having a small piece are great ways to boost antioxidants into our bodies!