Eat North Answers: Is dark chocolate good for you?

Could a bite of dark chocolate a day keep the doctor away?

Have you ever been told that eating dark chocolate is good for you but thought it was too good to be true? Well, fellow dark chocolate-loving Canadians, that’s what we're’ going to find out today!

The answer actually depends on a few factors. First, eating any food in excess is almost never good for you, and second, it really depends on the quality of the dark chocolate since lower quality dark chocolate will often contain additives like butter fat, vegetable oils, and other artificial flavouring. 

Now that we’ve got those caveats out of the way, let’s get into the nitty gritty details about dark chocolate. 

The easiest answer to our initial question is yes; dark chocolate does contain a multitude of nutrients such as zinc, iron, and magnesium, as well as an abundance of antioxidants called flavonoids. 

Dark chocolate also has far lower levels of sugar and fat than milk and white chocolate, but as a rule, the lower the percentage of cocoa solids, the higher the added sugar and fat content will be. Dark chocolate will typically contain between 50 and 90 per cent cocoa solids, whereas milk chocolate usually sits somewhere between 10 and 50 per cent.

Some studies also suggest that eating cocoa flavonoids can reduce blood pressure and that there is a link between eating dark chocolate and a reduced risk of heart disease. Dark chocolate is relatively high in calories, but the heart-protective benefits appear to outweigh the risk. 

So as it turns out, a little bit of dark chocolate each day can, in fact, help to keep the doctor away.