Not only is dark chocolate a tasty treat, but it is a nutritional powerhouse. The benefits of dark chocolate are becoming well known, but just in case you haven't heard the good news or would like a reminder. Here is a quick summary.
Benefits of Dark Chocolate
First, let's summarize the specific nutrients provided to your body through a delicious bar of dark chocolate:
One 3-ounce bar of dark chocolate with 70–85% cocoa contains:
- 11 grams of fiber
- 67% of the RDA for iron
- 58% of the RDA for magnesium
- 89% of the RDA for copper
- 98% of the RDA for manganese
Since a full-size dark chocolate candy bar has about 600 calories, you might want to break this up into thirds. Which would provide 200 calories and about:
- 3 grams of fiber
- 22% of RDA for iron
- 19% of RDA for magnesium
- Almost 1/3 of your RDA for copper
- 1/4 of your RDA for manganese
- And still contains potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium
Dark Chocolate Contains Fiber
Now what do these nutrients do for you? Well, for starters, fiber is important for healthy digestion and a healthy gut. Most people aren't getting enough fiber. Intake of at least 25 grams of fiber for a woman leads to decreased risk of colon cancer, for example.
Dark Chocolate is a source of iron, magnesium, and potassium.
- Iron is extremely important for healthy blood. Iron is part of the hemoglobin molecule which makes up your red blood cells. It is the hemoglobin molecule that enables your blood to carry sufficient oxygen and helps you maintain your energy level. For more on iron, click here.
- Magnesium is important for so many things, and is another nutrient that most people are deficient in.
- Potassium is found in all fruits and vegetables, and anything that grows in the ground or on a tree, including nuts, seeds, coffee, tea, and chocolate!
Source of Plant-Based Saturated Fat
Dark Chocolate is high in saturated fat. However, it is plant-based saturated fat, which is much better for you. Besides, the recommended amount of saturated fat per day is 7-10% of total calories. Thus, saturated fat is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.
In addition, because dark chocolate is plant-based, it does not contain cholesterol. Consumption of chocolate has been shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol).
Dark Chocolate is a Source of Antioxidants and Phytonutrients
Speaking of plant based. Plants are rich sources of antioxidants and phytonutrients, and chocolate is no exception. In fact, dark chocolate is one of the richest antioxidant foods around.
More Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Chocolate contains theobromines. Theobromines may:
- Improve Blood Pressure
- Increase HDL, which is the good cholesterol in your body
- Strengthen Tooth enamel
Chocolate is also good for heart health, gives you energy to workout at the gym, and is good for the skin.