Diane May Nutrition Blog

Should You Eat Dark Chocolate?

December 4th, 2020

Dark chocolate has numerous health benefits, but not all chocolate is created equal. The benefits of chocolate are derived from the cocoa, which is rich in plant flavanols-The main flavanols found in cocoa are epicatechin and catechin, and procyanidins. Procyanidins provide the majority of antioxidant activity in cocoa products. In addition to polyphenols, cocoa contains methylxanthine compounds—predominantly theobromine—about 2% to 3% by weight.. Dark chocolate contains 50-90% cocoa solids, cocoa butter and sugar, while milk chocolate contains 10-50% cocoa solids, cocoa butter, milk and sugar. You want to look for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. Also, pay attention to portions, try not to consume more than 1 ounce per day. Some of the benefits of dark chocolate include:

  • Antioxidant powerhouse.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cocoa polyphenols induce the release of nitric oxide, which have cardio protective benefits as well as have an anti-hypertensive effect (can help to lower blood pressure).
  • Can modulate intestinal microbiota and possibly be involved in the maintenance of mucosal integrity.
  • Possibly helps to improve cognitive function as well as cerebral flow and reduce neurological decline.
  • Fibers present in cocoa beans can help to improve the LDL: HDL ratio, decreasing the bad cholesterol and increasing the good cholesterol.
  • Magnesium, copper, potassium and iron, important minerals are present in cocoa, which also have cardio protective benefits.
  • Can improve mood.

It is best to look for organic dark chocolate, but also look for a high cocoa content (at least 70%), low sugar and no preservatives when possible. Some great brands:

  • Hu
  • Taza
  • Green and Blacks
  • Lindt
  • Ghirardelli
  • Valrhona
  • Ritter Sport
  • Scharffen Berger
  • Alter Ego

Although dark chocolate does have health benefits, be mindful that cocoa contains caffeine, and consuming large amounts can have side effects such as rapid heart rate, anxiety, acid reflux and migraine. If you experience any of these side effects, do not consume chocolate. Consume in moderation and enjoy this heart healthy sweet treat.

Hilary Meyer
Source: EatingWell.com, May 2018
Recipe Summary Active: 10 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 16
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place chickpeas, tahini, oil, water, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt in a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides as needed, until smooth. With the motor running, add melted chocolate and process until combined.


To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts

126 calories; protein 2.4g 5% DV; carbohydrates 9.6g 3% DV; dietary fiber 1.7g 7% DV; sugars 4.1g; fat 9.6g 15% DV; saturated fat 2.2g 11% DV; vitamin a iu 3.3IU; vitamin c 0.2mg; folate 21.5mcg 5% DV; calcium 13.8mg 1% DV; iron 0.5mg 3% DV; magnesium 11.4mg 4% DV; potassium 69.7mg 2% DV; sodium 50.2mg 2% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 9% DV; added sugar 4g.