Mother Earth News Blogs > Natural Health

Natural Health

Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.


Is Chocolate Good for You? 7 Reasons to Eat Dark Chocolate

Is Chocolate Good for You 7 Reasons to Eat Dark ChocolateI love chocolate. I keep a stash of dark chocolate in the pantry at all times for after dinner cravings or mid-day pick me ups. In fact, it is rare that a day goes by where I don’t eat at least a small square of chocolate. But is my love of chocolate a bad habit, or is chocolate good for you? I am happy to report that dark chocolate, specifically, is actually quite healthy; there continues to be new evidence for the various health benefits of dark chocolate.

Why is Chocolate Good for You?

Cacao, which comes from seeds of the tree Theobroma cacao, is the main component of dark chocolate. Cacao is full of compounds called polyphenols (particularly flavanols), which have a variety of health benefits. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants, which help to fight diseases, particularly of the

brain and heart. And dark chocolate has two to three times more of these compounds and a higher antioxidant activity than green tea, which is well known for its health benefits.[1] Dark chocolate might be an especially effective form of polyphenols because of the way bacteria in our gut interact with the dark chocolate that we ingest.

Health benefits of Dark Chocolate

The list of reasons why chocolate is good for you is seemingly endless. Here are just a few of the impressive health benefits of dark chocolate:

Scientists continue to discover new reasons why chocolate is good for our health. It may help improve mood, fight symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, and more.[8,9] So if you have been limiting your intake of chocolate out of fear that it was an unhealthy indulgence, don’t worry; you can now enjoy a square of dark chocolate after dinner or a few dark chocolate covered nuts for a snack without guilt. Just make sure you choose a high quality dark chocolate with a high cacao content (look for over 70%).

References

[1] Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012;2012:906252.

[2] Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Mar;95(3):740-51.

[3] Clin Nutr. 2015 Feb;34(1):129-33.

[4] J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014 Jun 3;63(21):2297-9.

[5] Physiol Behav. 2011 Jun 1;103(3-4):255-60.

[6] Hypertension. 2012 Sep;60(3):794-801.

[7] J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2014 Feb;16(2):101-6.

[8] Nutr Rev. 2013 Oct;71(10):665-81.

[9] Nutr J. 2010 Nov 22;9:55.

Chelsea Clark is a writer with a passion for science, human biology, and natural health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology with an emphasis in neuroscience from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. Her research on the relationship between chronic headache pain and daily stress levels has been presented at various regional, national, and international conferences. Chelsea’s interest in natural health has been fueled by her own personal experience with chronic medical issues. Her many profound experiences with natural health practitioners and remedies have motivated Chelsea to contribute to the world of natural health as a researcher and writer for Natural Health Advisory Institute.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.