The evidence for chocolate’s benefits keeps piling up, but the color and type makes a difference.
Research on cocoa/chocolate has linked it to benefits such as increased artery and blood-flow, improved cholesterol levels, lowered risk of heart disease, reduced chronic inflammation, lowered blood sugar levels, enhanced cognitive function and improved mood. *
But you can’t eat just any type of chocolate. Because the benefits come from the polyphenols in the cocoa, it has to be pure dark chocolate – containing 70% cocoa or more – not milk, light, white or filled chocolate, or chocolate flavored desserts.
Of course, moderation is still key. While dark chocolate generally has less sugar than other types, all chocolate is high in sugar, saturated fat and calories. One ounce (28.35 grams) is considered a reasonable size serving, and contains approximately 135-150 calories. Because dark chocolate is also more satisfying, a little goes a long way.
However, if you are eating chocolate with less than 70% cocoa, you are just getting the fat and sugar (and probably eating more!), without the antioxidants and health benefits. So go ahead and indulge a little, just be sure to make it pure dark or extra dark chocolate!
* Findings presented at Experimental Biology 2012 in San Diego on April 24, 2012