Healthy Choco?

By Denzel Eustache, Julian Quintero and Matthew Cadogan
JAN 24, 2019

Hidden behind less sugar and calories, the nutrients in dark chocolate provide multiple health benefits.

According to Tehrene Firman reporter for WellandGood.com, unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate is more nutritional because it contains between 35% and 100% cocoa whereas milk chocolate contains only 10%, or less. The more cocoa the chocolate contains the more beneficial it is. The Harvard School of Public Health website recommends choosing “… 70% dark chocolate or higher to obtain the most flavanols.” However, the percentage of cocoa also determines the bitterness of the chocolate. Milk chocolate contains large amounts of milk and sugar to make it taste much sweeter than dark chocolate. Katie, a dietitian for Mayoclinic.org, reported that “The cocoa bean is a rich source of phytonutrients, plant compounds that may have protective or health promoting properties.” She goes on to say that dark chocolate can reduce inflammation within the body due to the substantial amount of the antioxidant therbromine.

Harvard’s School of Public Health website also states that dark chocolate is rich in iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, as well as flavonols. Mr. Mark Traynor, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, at FIU told the Raider Review that, “These minerals play a vital role in the maintenance of important biological processes, such as blood pressure regulation, carrying of oxygen in the blood, bone health, and much more.”  Mr. Traynor went on to say that “In addition to these minerals, dark chocolate is known to contain dietary flavonoids in abundance. Flavonoids are natural substances found in plant materials such as fruits, vegetables, grains, roots, stems, flowers, tea, and even red wine.”

As with everything in life balance is key, which is why too much dark chocolate can be very harmful to the human body. Mr. Traynor warned that over-consuming dark chocolate can lead to obesity.

Putting aside the medical standpoints, dark chocolate is considered as a mood food. According to Chandra Johnson-Greene reporter for UHN Daily, “A recent study published in Hypertension showed that performance on cognitive tests significantly improved in elderly individuals with mild cognitive impairment if they consumed a daily cocoa drink containing high levels of flavanols for eight weeks, compared to those who consumed a low-flavanol cocoa drink.” According to Mr. Traynor, “… regular consumption of dark chocolate may help prevent hypertension. Also, it is known to potentially reduce the risk of diabetes due to an increase insulin sensitivity.”

Small amounts of dark chocolate have many medical benefits, making it a great addition to one’s daily diet.