Unless they’re allergic, it’s rare that you hear people say that they don’t want something chocolate. Unfortunately, not all chocolate is created equally. There are the white and “regular” chocolates which are sugary and contain little to no nutritional value. Then, there is dark chocolate which is much less sugar filled yet has nutrients that are useful to our bodies. however, like most food items nowadays,  dark chocolate can vary in its nutritional and sugar content. Here are a few benefits of consuming the darker version.

Dark chocolate is quite nutritious and high in antioxidants. Being loaded with minerals like zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium, along with a considerable amount of soluble fiber, a 100 gram bar of 70-85% cocoa provides a likely surprising amount of supplements and good taste. The fats in dark chocolate are, for the most part, very good being mostly saturated and monounsaturated. Of course, there’s caffeine. Yet, compared to coffee, it’s a relatively small amount. In addition, dark chocolate is full of organic compounds that function as antioxidants. Some studies are showing that it contains more antioxidant activity than some fruits.

Your brain and heart can prosper from moderate consumption of dark chocolate. Studies have indicated that eating small amounts of dark chocolate 2-3 times per week can help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, prevent the formation of blood clots, and have a hand in decreasing the likelihood of hardening of the arteries. Also, having an ounce or so of dark chocolate can improve your mood via the chemical compounds it contains which have a positive effect on your cognitive health and increased blood flow to the brain. Want to reduce your risk of stroke? Have some dark chocolate. Your heart, brain, and a few other organs will thank you.

Dark chocolate can decrease insulin sensitivity and thus help lower blood sugar levels, as well as protect your skin. Researchers have surmised that the flavonoids in dark chocolate absorb UV light, improve skin hydration and complexion, and help protect and increase blood flow to the skin. Of course, it’s not a substitute for sun protection lotion.  Speaking of flavonoids, they also increase nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is partially responsible for assisting in the control of insulin sensitivity, blood flow, and other health improving functions. Dark chocolate is becoming touted as a  somewhat formidable foe of diabetes – a disease which is on the rise.

Eating small amounts of dark chocolate can be good for you. To get the maximum health benefit, it’s best to consume minimally processed chocolate in pure, dark form sans the additives. Look for a cocao, or cocoa, content of 70% or more, and watch the portion size. Usually one to one and a half ounces will have about 200 calories.  So go get you dark chocolate on and do your body well at the same time!