You’re probably thinking, “What’s the big fuss? Chocolate is chocolate, whether it’s dark, white or milky.” However, Lord says dark chocolate contains 50-90 % cocoa solids, whereas the milky version only has 10-50 % cocoa solids, therefore offering fewer nutrients. It’s the cocoa solids that contain the nutrients in chocolate – so the higher the content, the more beneficial it is. Lord also adds that low quality chocolate might contain butter fat, vegetable oils, as well as artificial colours and flavours. This process, then, kind of cancels out the already low cocoa solids content.
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Besides the high cocoa solids count, Lord says dark chocolate is packed with flavanols, zinc, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. Flavanols are good for you as they help to protect the heart, improve the texture and appearance of the skin, as well as act as a barrier against harmful UV rays. “This is because the flavanols found in dark chocolate are strong antioxidants, which help to keep blood vessels healthy and flexible, thus possibly lowering blood pressure levels,” Lord explains.
Antioxidants are important for fighting inflammation in the body caused by pollution and stress. Magnesium may help to maintain healthy hair because it regulates many biochemical reactions in the body, including muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.
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With that said, we might just head to the shops to get all the dark chocolate money can buy and eat to our hearts’ content. Even though this dark snack is good for you, always keep in mind that it’s still a calorie-dense food that could contribute to weight gain. “A good portion is one to two small blocks,” Wendy concludes.