Chocolate enjoys an image of unhealthy food or accused of making you fat. So, we tend to deprive ourselves of it. However, there are several types of chocolate and in particular dark chocolate, with a particularly interesting composition, which would be a shame to do without. So what are the benefits of dark chocolate? Why is it better for your health?
The benefits of dark chocolate:
Understanding the different kinds of chocolate
Chocolate is made from roasted cocoa beans, crushed and ground into a paste (the famous cocoa paste). Two ingredients are then added: cocoa butter and sugar; in varying proportions, depending on the type of chocolate desired (dark, milk, white, etc.) and according to the manufacturer’s recipes. You can optionally add milk (for milk chocolate, for example) or other ingredients (almonds, nuts, raisins …) for the varieties of taste.
To qualify for the designation “dark chocolate”, it must contain a cocoa content of between 35 and 99%. The higher the cocoa content, the lower the sugar level and therefore its taste will be intense. You will understand: the advantage of dark chocolate is its low sugar content.
Comparative chocolate nutritional composition
Nutritional composition of dark chocolate and other chocolates (white, milk, etc.)
Why is dark chocolate better for you?
- 1. Its asset: less added sugar
While chocolate is more concentrated in cocoa, it contains less sugar. And that’s the advantage of dark chocolate! Very little added sugar which explains its more or less intense bitterness depending on the brand.
Thus, dark chocolate at least 70% contains only 27.6% added sugar on average – against 49.5% for milk chocolate or even 56% for white chocolate! Some dark chocolates (especially those with more than 90% cocoa) even provide much less: less than 10%.
2. An underestimated calorie richness…
With its 572 kcal per 100 grams (1), dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa) remains a caloric food. Note that two small squares of dark chocolate, i.e. 10 grams, provide an average of 57.2 calories, which is much more than milk chocolate and white chocolate (55.5 g and 56.3 g respectively)!
3. Due to its high-fat content
The high-fat content of dark chocolate (41.6%), made from cocoa butter, makes it more caloric than other chocolates, despite its low sugar content.
Good quality dark chocolate is made from cocoa butter, which is mainly composed of saturated fatty acids (62.9%). Monounsaturated fatty acids are present at 32.7%.
4. An interesting source of potassium
Dark chocolate helps cover our potassium needs, which is important for muscle contraction and even kidney function. Thus, 100 grams of dark chocolate min. 70% cocoa provides 400 mg of potassium (i.e. 40 mg for 2 squares of dark chocolate). Our daily needs being 500 mg, a 10 g serving covers 8% of our daily needs.
5. a small source of magnesium
Dark chocolate is known for its high magnesium content. Indeed, it provides 178 mg of magnesium per 100 grams. In reality, two squares of dark chocolate with 70% cocoa barely covers 4% of our daily needs in this anti-stress mineral, which is ultimately very low in view of the quantities consumed. To cover our daily needs, we would have to liquidate more than two tablets of 100 g each! You might as well turn to waters rich in magnesium.
6. A source of iron
Dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa) contains 4.18 g of iron per 100 grams, grams which may seem high compared to foods rich in iron, such as red meat (on average 2.5 g of iron / 100 g).
Remember, however, that dark chocolate contains iron from plants (called “non-heme”), which is less well assimilated by the body than iron from meat products (“heme iron”). In addition, the presence of phytic acid and oxalic acid further limit its absorption. Finally, the average amounts consumed being low (10 grams), dark chocolate ultimately does not provide as much iron as one might think (barely 0.42 mg for two squares).
7. An interesting source of antioxidants
Dark chocolate is valued for its richness in antioxidants; molecules that help your body break free from free radicals known to cause cell damage. It thus contains flavonoids that are also found in red wine, or tomatoes, and which give dark chocolate a strong antioxidant power.