Science has proven dark chocolate can actually be good for your health. The key is portion control, and it must be dark chocolate.
What is the daily recommended amount of dark chocolate?
The recommended “dose” is approximately 1 to 2 ounces or 30-60g, experts say. Indulge in anything more than that, and you may be consuming too many calories.
A 1.45-ounce (41 gram) Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar has 190 calories. In comparison, if you ate a medium-size raw apple, you’d only take in 95 calories.
Therefore, don’t replace healthy foods with this treat. Just take into consideration you may be consuming a few extra calories even with the recommended amount.
Nutritional Content of a 70-85% Cacao Bar
- 170 calories
- 12 grams of fat
- 13 grams carbs
- 1 gram dietary fiber
- 8 grams of sugars
- 2 grams of protein
- 7 mg calcium
- 203 mg potassium
What Does it Take to Burn Off These Calories?
Burning off the calories in a 170-calorie bar would require:
- 44 minutes of walking
- 19 minutes jogging
- 14 minutes of swimming
- 23 minutes cycling
3 Reasons to Eat Dark Chocolate Every Day
1. Your Heart Loves It
What is it that makes dark chocolate desirable? The answer is plant phenols — cocoa phenols, to be exact.
Eating dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure if you have mild high blood pressure and you balance the extra calories by eating less of other things, say researchers in a report in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Dark chocolate is also loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as healthy antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others.
One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity, polyphenols, and flavanols than fruits such as blueberries and Acai berries.
2. You Need Protection from Daily Radicals
The high levels of flavonoids — potent antioxidants — help protect cells and tissues from damage by free radicals. These radicals are unstable molecules that alter and weaken cells and often come from stress, poor diet, and the inevitable aging.
Dark chocolate also contains significant amounts of minerals magnesium and copper.
A 1.5-ounce bar provides 15 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium. Energy production, strong bones, relaxed muscles, and effective nerve transmission are all supported by Magnesium. That same bar also contains 34 percent RDA of copper. Copper helps the body create neurotransmitters and is associated with a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.
3. You’re Happier With A Daily Dose of Cocoa
Chocolate and happiness have been coupled together as a “love food” since the Mesoamerican civilizations.
In those early times, chocolate was considered a luxury item and a valuable commodity. The elite made a drink of roasted cacao beans with cornmeal, vanilla, honey and chilies for those they loved.
Science has since found an actual chemical connection between chocolate and happiness. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that’s also released in the brain during moments of emotional euphoria. It also contains anandamide, a fatty acid neurotransmitter that makes you feel more relaxed and less anxious.
Choose Your Daily Dose Wisely
The darker the chocolate, the better. The reason dark chocolate gets all the accolades is that it contains lower added sugar and fats than milk or white chocolate. In addition, it’s higher in beneficial flavonoids.
Those with the highest proportion of cacao are better, even when it comes to powder for hot cocoa.
Choose a bar with a minimum 70% cacao, and just remember — even the darkest of the dark chocolates must be consumed in moderation.
There you have it. Science says a daily dose of dark chocolate can be good for your health. No need to wait for a special celebration. Enjoy some today.
Twin Lakes is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering villa homes, apartments, rehab services and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Lakes online or at 513-247-1300.