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Health Benefits of Chocolate pt..2
Stan Denning - Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Quote for March:  "Any sane person loves chocolate." - Bob Greene


Nutrition Facts for Cocoa and Chocolate


There have been many studies linking cocoa and dark chocolate with health benefits. Cocoa and chocolate contain a large amount of antioxidants (flavinoids). Cocoa and dark chocolate may keep high blood pressure down and reduce the blood's ability to clot, thus the risk of stroke and heart attacks may be reduced. The darker chocolate with the most concentrated cocoa will be the most beneficial. According to an

Italian study



A small square (20 g) of dark (bittersweet) chocolate every three days is the ideal dose for cardiovascular benefits. Eating more does not provide additional benefits.

The nutrition values presented below are based on review of a selection of brands. Variations outside the given ranges can be expected. Numbers are % by weight, not % of daily value.


 Cocoa - low fat
(European type)

 Cocoa - high fat
(Breakfast cocoa)

 Unsweetened chocolate

Bittersweet chocolate 




Semisweet chocolate and baking chocolate






















Dietary fibers












Calories per oz

ca 60

ca 90




Calories per 100 g

ca 200

ca 300





Cocoa beans contain approximately 50% fat. It is primarily comprised of two saturated fatty acids (palmitic and stearic acids) and one mono-unsaturated acid (oleic acid). Cocoa butter and chocolate do not raise blood cholesterol. However, when consuming milk chocolate or lower grade chocolate where a part of the total fat content comes from milk fat or various other types of fat, the cholesterol level might be adversely affected.

The cacao bean contains quite a lot of carbohydrates, but most of it is starch, soluble dietary fibers, and insoluble dietary fibers. A very small proportion is simple sugars. Sugar is added during the manufacture of chocolate.

Cocoa beans contain polyphenols (similar to those found in wine) with antioxidant properties which are health beneficial. These compounds are called flavonoids and include catechins, epicatechins, and procyandins. The antioxidant flavinoids are found in the nonfat portions of the cocoa bean. The flavinoids also reduce the blood's ability to clot and thus reduces the risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Theobromine is a very mild stimulant with a mild diuretic action (increases the production of urine). Theobromine can be toxic to animals like dogs, cats, parrots and horses.

Cocoa beans contains a very low amount of caffeine, much less than found in coffee, tea and cola drinks.




Phenylethylamine is a slight antidepressant and stimulant similar to the body's own dopamine and adrenaline.

Cocoa and chocolate can increase the level of serotonine in the brain. Serotonine levels are often decreased in people with depression and in those experiencing PMS symptoms.

Essential minerals
Cocoa beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.

A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and pantothenic acid. 

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