Valentine’s Day Special: Chocolate!

It is Valentine’s Day, which means that it is the day of chocolate and flowers! For my guys and gals out there who want to enjoy this day while still being health conscious, do not fret! I got you covered here because this post is all about the health benefits of chocolate! When it comes to the nutrition level of chocolate, there is a difference between dark chocolates and light chocolate. And, as we all know, the darker the chocolate, the more nutritious it is. Therefore, we are pushing the lighter chocolate aside (of which is packed full of unwanted sugar) and diving into the decadence of dark chocolate. Keep reading to learn the benefits of enjoying dark chocolate every now and then.

Chocolate 101: The Healthy Ways to Indulge - Steven and Chris
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Health Benefits

There are different types of dark chocolate where the amount of cocoa used varies. For this post, we will be discussing dark chocolate with 70%-85% cocoa since the higher cocoa percentage reflects a better nutrition profile for the chocolate.

In a 3.5 oz. serving (100g) of 75%-80% dark chocolate:


It is important to note that chocolate is very calorie dense, in that you get a lot of calories for very little quantity. If one is not paying attention it can be easy to over-indulge on chocolate. Therefore, it is best to enjoy chocolate in moderation. The recommended serving size of dark chocolate is 1 to 2 oz.

Other Nutrients

Other nutrients found in 100g of 75%-80% dark chocolate include:

Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for Iron67%
RDI for Magnesium58%
RDI for Copper89%
RDI for Manganese98%

There are a lot of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium found in 75%-80% dark chocolate as well.

Dark Chocolate is A Great Source of Antioxidants

As seen from the nutrition in dark chocolate, it is a great source of antioxidants. Such biologically active compounds include polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins. Polyphenols have potential for boosting digestive health, brain health, protect the body against heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Flavanol, a type of flavonoid, have great antioxidant properties and is great for heart health. Finally, catechins are antioxidants that help to prevent damage to the body’s cells.

Dark Chocolate is Good for the Heart

Lower Blood Flow and Improve Blood Pressure

Although chocolate is used to woo the hearts of men and women around the world, it can be good for the heart overall. Dark chocolate may improve the blood flow in the human body as well as potentially lower blood pressure (here comes the science-y stuff). Flavanols (apart of those biologically active compounds that come from the cocoa) can stimulate the lining of the arteries. This encourages the production of nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide’s function in the body is to send signals telling the arteries to dilate (relax). From here the relaxed arteries are then able to increase blood flow and lower blood pressure. Such effects have been found to either be mild or have no response in the body from eating chocolate. One’s body and genetics, however, may play a role in how much of an effect chocolate may have on lowering overall blood pressure

Provide Aide in the Risk Factors of Heart Disease

All the antioxidants found in dark chocolate provide great health benefits. The cocoa can increase the HDL Cholesterol levels in the body and decrease the amount of oxidized LDL cholesterol. In turn, this can help to reduce the risk of heart disease as oxidized LDL may play a larger role as being a risk factor for heart disease. Dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance within the body. Insulin resistance is a risk factor for different diseases including heart disease and diabetes.

Dark Chocolate can Protect the Skin

The powerful antioxidants and biologically active compounds are also great for skin health. Flavanols can protect the skin from sun damage, improve the blood flow to the skin, and increase the hydration and density of the skin.

Dark Chocolate can Potentially Improve Brain Function

The cocoa in dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine (stimulant substances) which help to boost brain function. Flavanol in the cocoa can also increase blood flow to the brain.

Before You Eat ALL the Dark Chocolate in the House…

There are some impressive benefits when it comes to dark chocolate. Nutritionally, dark chocolate is still calorie dense, so remember that it is important to eat in moderation. Thanks to the high concentrate of cocoa, you can enjoy a few pieces of dark chocolate knowing that you are fueling your body with a nutrition packed treat.

Let’s Chat!

What is your favorite brand of dark chocolate? Let me know in the comments down below!

Related: Fruit of the Month for December: Pomegranate


7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate – written by Kris Gunnars BSc

Nutrition Facts, Chocolate, 70-85% cacao solids, dark

Is Cocoa A Fruit? – written by Nick Marsden

What Are Polyphenols? Types, Benefits, and Food Sources – written by Alina Petre, MS, RD (NL)

What Are Flavonoids? Everything you Need to Know – written by Kathryn Watson

10 Evidence-Based Benefits of Green Tea – written by Kris Gunnars BSc