The beautiful thing about dark chocolate is that it is delicious, and let me share some of the best dark chocolate benefits with you…
Dark Chocolate Benefits
Certainly some women are highly sensitive to caffeine. For those women, dark chocolate is not a good choice. Some women don’t like dark chocolate. But, often if they are simply used to eating milk chocolate, it’s an acquired taste that can be developed over time as they become less and less used to sweetness and more accustomed to the slightly bitter taste.
Dark chocolate has a wide variety of health benefits. For people who need to reduce sugar, it can be a good choice for a nourishing dessert that is low in sugar.
Cocoa contains 50 mg of polyphenols per gram, which is more phenolic antioxidants than most foods. (1) Dark chocolate is more antioxidant dense than red wine, apples, and black tea – other foods that are also very high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are essentially anti-aging chemicals. They scavenge for reactive oxygen species (ROS), which cause “rust” in our systems due to oxidative stress. High levels of ROS can overwhelm mitochondria causing fatigue and brain fog. Antioxidants also reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants combined with collagen, improve skin and joint health. (2, 3, 4)
In one fascinating study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (5), women who ate chocolate reported higher sexual function and desire. However, when the data were further analyzed the women in the chocolate eating group were also younger. So, it’s hard to say if eating chocolate is directly related to sexual desire and function, but it’s worth exploring!
In a controlled trial, women who consumed 40 grams of dark chocolate per day, rated their perceived stress levels to be less over a 2 week period.(6) This effect was not seen as strongly in men.
Dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) provides 36mg of magnesium per 100kcal serving, more than three times the amount found in milk chocolate.(1) Magnesium is essential for protein synthesis, muscle relaxation, and energy production. The magnesium found in dark chocolate can reduce the risk of cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension, headache, and muscle pain.
Dark chocolate is also high in iron. Premenopausal women are at risk for iron deficiency, especially those with heavy menstrual cycles. Dark chocolate provides 25% of the RDA (1.90mg) for iron. (1)
In a placebo controlled trial, eight weeks of daily consumption of dark chocolate has also been shown to increase scores on the The Chalder Fatigue Scale in those with chronic fatigue syndrome. Similarly, Hospital Anxiety and Depression scores improved in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome who consumed dark chocolate daily for 8 weeks – but, Hosptial Anxiety and Depression scores worsened with a placebo chocolate that was low in cocoa liquor and polyphenols.(7)
Dark chocolate benefits our mental health, skin, nutrient sufficiency, and even reduces the risk of cancer and fatigue. Dark chocolate is a nourishing and delicious choice for most people. To improve fatigue, stress, skin elasticity, and joint mobility, enjoy a few small squares each day. Moderation is key!
This Valentine’s Day share this delicious chocolate with the ones you love.
February’s focus is on love, and chocolate. Unfortunately most of the chocolate that you can buy in grocery stores is full of unhealthy fats and preservatives. This year, share some chocolate with your loved ones that holds a hidden cancer fighting super-spice, turmeric!
Raw Cacao Bar by Chef Eleonora Grafton
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raw cacao butter
1 cup raw cacao
10 oz. chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand are gluten, dairy and soy free)
1/2 cup turmeric powder
1 tbsp peppercorn, freshly ground
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
2 tbsp cacao nibs to sprinkle on top
2 tbsp shredded coconut to sprinkle on top
1. Place first 4 ingredients in a double boiler on low heat to slowly melt. Then, add in the remaining ingredients.
2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper, pour in the mixture, and sprinkle the cacao nibs and shredded coconut on top.
3. Allow to cool. Store in a cool, dry area.
4. Cut into small bite sized pieces, and enjoy!
- Katz, D. L., Doughty, K., & Ali, A. (2011). Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling, 15(10), 2779–2811. http://doi.org/10.1089/ars.2010.3697
- Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. (2014) Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol, 27(1), 47-55. doi: 10.1159/000351376
- Borumand, M., & Sibilla, S. (2014). Daily consumption of the collagen supplement Pure Gold Collagen® reduces visible signs of aging. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 9, 1747–1758. http://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S65939
- Clark KL, Sebastianelli W, Flechsenhar KR, Aukermann DF, Meza F, Millard RL, Deitch JR, Sherbondy PS, Albert A. (2008) 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res Opin, 24(5), 1485-96. doi: 10.1185/030079908X291967
- Salonia A, et al. (2006) Chocolate and women’s sexual health: An intriguing correlation. J Sex Med, 3(3), 476-82.
- Al Sunni, A., & Latif, R. (2014). Effects of chocolate intake on Perceived Stress; a Controlled Clinical Study. International Journal of Health Sciences, 8(4), 393–401.
- Sathyapalan, T., Beckett, S., Rigby, A. S., Mellor, D. D., & Atkin, S. L. (2010). High cocoa polyphenol rich chocolate may reduce the burden of the symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome. Nutrition Journal, 9, 55. http://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-9-55