You’ve probably heard that chocolate is a health food. You’ve also probably heard that chocolate is not a health food. So which is it? Well, it depends.
When we talk about chocolate being healthy, we are talking about the dark kind that’s at least 70 percent cacao and the higher the percentage the better. This type of dark chocolate is beneficial because of its high antioxidant content, which is important because it can prevent cell damage that could lead to disease. Along with being high in antioxidants, pure dark chocolate is also high in several minerals like iron and magnesium. The benefits of these antioxidants and minerals include lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, cognition, gut and heart health.
Now that’s all about the good kind of chocolate, but what about the not-so good kind? This includes white “chocolate,” which does not even include any cacao to consider it chocolate, and milk chocolate, which is high in sugar and does not contain any antioxidants to reap any health benefits.
Here’s what to look out for the next time you’re grazing down the chocolate aisle wondering which bar you should actually devour. First, check that the packaging says 70 percent cacao or higher. Next, check the ingredient list and if sugar is the first ingredient, nix it and move on to another brand. If the chocolate is organic, that’s a plus. So yes it’s true, chocolate should be your friend when chosen wisely.
Courtney Susskind obtained her master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from the University of Miami. She has a passion for helping others live a healthier and happier lifestyle through food and behavior modifications. For nutrition consultations and further information, you can contact Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Instagram @livewellwithcourt.