Benefits of dark chocolate… Yes, the legends are true: They do exist!
But, before you go rummaging through year-old Halloween candy and stuffing your face with Snicker’s and Tootsie Roll’s, there’s a few things you need to know.
First, and most importantly, true dark chocolate is usually considered anything at or above 65% Cacao.
You’re not going to find this percentage mixed in with the Skittles and Gummy Bears, and it does taste a bit different than the sugar-laden milk chocolate you’re probably used to, but most convenience and grocery stores do have a few high percentage options to at least take them for a test taste.
Don’t worry: Just like with wine, it’s an acquired taste for some, and your palette will adjust. I remember the first time I tried 65 percent, and I had to spit it out. I’ve since worked my way up the cocoa tree to being able to thoroughly enjoy 80-85% (I’m working on the 99, but that’s the extreme!).
The higher the percentage of cacao, the more benefits and better nutritional value the chocolate contains.
For example, an average 65% dark chocolate serving would look something like this (these are estimates, as actual numbers will vary, depending on brand, size, etc.): Total Fat 15 g, Sat. Fat 9 g, Sugars 16g, Protein 3g.
Comparatively, an average 99% dark chocolate serving would look something like this (these are estimates, as actual numbers will vary, depending on brand, size, etc.): Total Fat 22 g, Sat. Fat 14 g, Sugars 2g, Protein 5g.
As you can see, the higher up the percentage scale you go, the less sugar and more protein you’re going to get.
You may also notice the high fat content, but the majority of this comes from healthy fats (yes, there is such a thing!).
5 Benefits of Dark Chocolate
- Studies have shown dark chocolate to lower blood pressure
- Studies have also shown dark chocolate to lower bad cholesterol (LDL)
- It turns women on more than a passionate kissing session (no wonder they want it for Valentine’s Day!)
- Contains serotonin, a natural mood-boosting anti-depressant
- Stimulates pleasure-inducing endorphin production
Now, even though there are several benefits of dark chocolate, as with anything else, moderation is key. Make sure your chocolate delights fit into your daily caloric needs, and try to work your way up to the highest percentage dark chocolate you can enjoy.