Is Dark Chocolate Good For You?

Is Dark Chocolate good for you? Chocolate comes in many shapes, sizes, colors and forms, but dark chocolate has a distinct taste and look that makes us all wonder if it’s better or worse than the chocolates we normally eat. In order to truly understand the answer to that question, however, we first need to make sure we’re all on the same page as to what it actually is, and then we can figure out the health benefits of dark chocolate.

What is Dark Chocolate?

Dark chocolate is different from the chocolates you will often find in snacks at the grocery, in that it contains less milk and more coacoa powder to give it its dark complexion. Unlike the more common milk chocolate, dark chocolate is more bitter than it is sweet, which makes it an acquired taste for many.

As for where chocolate itself comes from, it’s created from a process that starts with the cocoa trees, which produce the cocoa bean. From there, the beans are harvested, fermented, dried for several days and then roasted to create the flavor that we associate with chocolate today. The beans — now known as “nibs” at this point in the process — are then ground up into a paste that is used to make a variety of chocolate products.[1]

Is Dark Chocolate Good For You?

It’s easy to think that because dark chocolate is, well, darker that it must be richer and therefore worse for you than regular chocolates, but in fact the opposite is true in regards to health. On its own, chocolate is quite a healthy snack, but it’s the common milk chocolate we see today that is sweetened heavily by milk and sugar that begins to dilute its healthiness. Milk chocolates, you’ll find, contain less cocoa than dark chocolate, and the cocoa is what gives chocolate its health benefits to begin with. So, as a general rule of thumb, the darker the chocolate the better.

There is no getting around the fact that dark chocolate — as with all chocolates — is a calorie-dense food. However, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that chocolate is a healthy addition to your diet in moderation. Dark chocolate is good for you because it contains a respectable amount of minerals and soluble fiber. Dark chocolates, too, also possess antioxidants and have been known to lower blood pressure to at least some degree.[2]

One of the more underrated aspects of dark chocolate — and one you may unknowingly be familiar with — is that consumption can actually help lower stress hormones.[3] This might explain why people often look to chocolate as a comfort food, because it genuinely makes them feel better. Although, one has to be careful not to consume too much, as there are about 150 calories per ounce packed into dark chocolate. The health benefits of dark chocolate are certainly commendable, but foods like these should be consumed in moderation to get the most out of them.

Which Dark Chocolate Should You Get?

We already know that dark chocolate is good for you in many ways, and that it is loaded with calories. So, with that in mind when looking for the healthiest dark chocolate you want to make sure you don’t buy something that exacerbates its calories more than it already is, or dilutes its benefits by being too low in cocoa.  With all chocolates, there are also additional concerns you will want to consider, such as whether or not it was harvested and made with child labor [4] or practically stolen from farmers. While it’s certainly not fair to pass moral judgement on someone who consumes such things without prior knowledge of it, it is something that once you understand exists, you might feel compelled to avoid.

To save you the trouble of racking your brain trying to figure out what dark chocolate is good for you, and more importantly, that which are not harvested or purchased through exploitation, we’ve gone ahead and done the research for you. Below are the chocolates I recommend the most for the health and heart-conscious dark chocolate lovers.

Organic Dark Chocolate That’s Healthy
One of my favorite choices for dark chocolate right now is Pascha Organic Dark Chocolate (85%). Their dark chocolate is both organic and verified through the Non-GMO project, and is Fair Trade, which means chocolate production, buying and selling is monitored to help prevent exploitation of farmers. There is a bit of sugar to be found in these (7g/serving), however that’s to be expected from chocolates and still much less than you’ll find in milk chocolate bars at your grocery (popular 1.55 ounce Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars, for example, contain a whopping 24g of sugars).

If there is a downside to Fair Trade chocolate, it’s that there’s not as much selection to choose from as far as brands, since the major chocolate manufacturers of the world don’t abide by Fair Trade in order to meet product demands and maximize profits. That’s why when you find a Fair Trade dark chocolate that is both good for you, and tasty, then you have to be excited. I believe Pascha’s Organic is just that.

Support Endangered Animals While You Eat
One of the coolest concepts around the chocolate industry right now comes from the company Endangered Species Chocolate, which uses 10% of its profits to support wildlife organizations that help protect select animals. In this case, the Endangered Species Panther Dark Chocolate (88%) is my favorite. Along with just being delicious with a high cocoa percentage, it’s also Fair Trade, Non-GMO verified and contains information about the animal they’re hoping to protect on the wrapper.

I realize a lot of people just want to eat their food and get on with their day, but if you can also do something good for the world while you’re doing something good for your body, why not? I love companies that actively look to give back. And this is such a wonderful concept I just had to mention it.



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