4 Healthy Reasons To Eat Dark Chocolate — A Delicious, Nutritious Snack For You and Your Kids

Chris

There’s no denying the popularity of chocolate. But with the growing awareness of healthy eating and living, we’re starting to see a surge in chocolates that are both tasty and good for you. So what’s so great about dark chocolate? It’s delicious, has many health benefits, and is relatively easy to find. Check out this article for four reasons to give dark chocolate a try.

If you haven’t checked out what makes our chocolate so different from other dark chocolate out there, make sure to take a peek here first!

1. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants

Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, particularly a number of flavonoids, which provide many health benefits; They can help improve your heart health, protect your brain from diseases, and even boost your mood!

Cacao is high in a flavanol called catechin, which belongs to a division of phytonutrients. Benefits such as cardiovascular protection, cutting risk of some cancers and preventing obesity mostly occur in raw and dark chocolate, especially in raw cacao nibs and beans, as the catechin concentration is much higher.

Some research suggests that the flavonoid resveratrol in chocolate is good for longevity, potentially assisting organisms to live up to 20% longer! It is also assumed (and confirmed in a genetic study in mice) that resveratrol prevents skin cancer, protects against high blood pressure, heart failure, improves insulin sensitivity, and protects nerves in the brain.

Let’s take this with a grain of salt as studies are still ongoing we humans do differ from mice a bit 🤷🏽‍♀️

No matter how much flavonol and catechin are present in a GOOD dark or raw chocolate, and whether resveratrol actually helps us live longer – cacao does certainly contain a number of antioxidants, fighting free radicals and supporting our hearts and brains. On top of that, it’s extremely delicious.

2. Fiber, iron, and magnesium

Besides being loaded with antioxidants, chocolate also contains a decent amount of soluble fiber, iron, and magnesium.

Fiber supports a healthy digestive system, lowers cholesterol levels, and helps control blood sugar levels. With a generous amount of 4g of fiber per 30g serving, 100% dark cacao paste or baking chocolate is well-equipped for a fiber-rich diet.

We all need a good amount of iron in our diet, especially women! Iron helps to transfer oxygen between tissues in your body and is essential for a healthy immune system. If you want to increase your iron intake via food – you may want to consider eating 100g of dark or raw chocolate per day, which would boost your daily value of iron a whopping 67%! Nice challenge, isn’t it? 😉

Now lastly – good chocolate is rich in magnesium, another of the 7 essential macrominerals that many people are deficient of. Magnesium is vital for many bodily functions. To name a few, it helps with bone health and premenstrual symptoms in women, may prevent headache and anxiety, and supports the blood flow to the heart, thus improving cardiovascular health.

Chocolate sounds like a dream come true 😊 – full of antioxidants and essential nutrients. I would say it is still a treat, and we rarely consume it without ANY sugar. Thus, it needs to be consumed in moderation (thanks, mom).

3. Dark chocolate helps your heart

As you already read above, many of the nutrients found in chocolate can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, researchers found that eating a little bit of dark chocolate each day can be as beneficial as eating a handful of nuts.

During a study that tracked the chocolate consumption of over 300,000 participants, nearly 5,000 of them had a heart attack from the coronary arteries being blocked in a follow-up study nealry 9 years later. People that consumed chocolate showed an 8% reduction in heart failure! Flavonoids as suggested above, but also methylxanthines, polyphenols, and stearic acid all help to reduce inflammation and keep blood vessels open.

While it is not clear HOW much chocolate is ideal, you cannot go wrong with a daily dose of GOOD chocolate. What other product is so great and improves heart health and happiness without side effects?!

4. Your kids can also enjoy dark chocolate

Kids LOOOOOVE treats, and the healthier these treats are, the better. I’ve served many children a piece of chocolate at Farmer’s Markets, and most of them (except at UBC Farmer’s market 😆) ask me for a sample of milk chocolate.

I think it is mostly the bitterness in dark chocolate they don’t enjoy. Thankfully, even dark chocolate can be delicious to them if processed with care and attention to acidity levels in the production.

I personally do three things to make my chocolate enjoyable for kids!

When I produce my chocolates, I never heat the beans or cacao mass higher than 45C to avoid nutrients from burning. A good side effect of that is a reduction in bitterness.

The cacao bean I use is called Criollo – it grows predominantly in Peru, Ecuador and Guatemala and is known for its nuttiness and low bitterness.

Lastly, the length of the grinding process in a chocolate melanger contributes to a smoother, more alkaline and therefore less acidic chocolate piece. Where mass producers cut down on grinding time and increase heat – small producers like me take our time with manufacturing, paying attention to the end flavour and nutrient conservation.

So, when I guide kids through a small flavour journey at markets or my virtual sampling sessions, most end up actually appreciating the dark chocolate and are surprised by how gentle and smooth it is!

If you are looking to get your kid to eat dark chocolate instead of other, more sugary treats, I highly suggest our Blueberry Maple dark chocolate. It’s been a hit with kids ever since I developed it.

The good thing about a dark craft chocolate is not only the gentle flavour but also a reduction in sugar at the same time. Tell them the coconut sugar we use adds a caramel note to the chocolate and I’m sure you can convince them 😍

Conclusion

There are many reasons to eat dark chocolate, from the taste to the health benefits.

Flavanols and other antioxidants in chocolate increase heart health, brain function as we age, and may prevent certain kinds of cancers. Besides that, it’s rich in 3 essential nutrients that many of us are deficient of; fiber, iron, and magnesium. These further help bone health, our digestive system and support a healthy immune system.

Compared to many other foods, chocolate definitely shows a high number of components that prevent heart attacks by keeping our coronary vessels open. Adults especially appreciate these benefits, but if your kid likes chocolate too, why not get them started with dark chocolate to get the most of these benefits?

I always suggest a dark chocolate over milk chocolate and raw chocolate over any other kind. ALWAYS read the list of ingredients to make sure you’re actually eating a cacao-rich chocolate and not a candy that has more sugar than cacao.

If you want to learn more about other health benefits, make sure to check out my health page and other blogs about chocolate and health.

Thanks for reading!

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