There are not that many people who don’t like chocolate. It not only tastes good and makes us feel better but it can be healthy as well, depending on its type.
In the race of healthy benefits between the chocolate types, the white chocolate is on the last place. It consists of cacao butter, lots of sugar (appr 60%!), some milk components and quite often artificial colouring to make the chocolate more white. There is almost nothing healthy about it, except maybe a small amount of unsaturated fat from cacao butter.
Moving to milk chocolate. It has some cacao, which provides us with the natural antioxidant flavonoids, and milk as a source of calcium, which we need for strong bones, muscles and nerves. It is also the most popular type of chocolate because its level of sweetness (not as sweet as white chocolate and not that bitter as the dark one). If we zoom in on the healthy aspects, then the most important are the antioxidant flavonoids that are not only good for our overall health, but also specifically for our heart and our brain health. And here the health advantage of milk in chocolate becomes actually a significant disadvantage. Milk proteins hinder the absorption of flavonoids by our body. In other words, the flavonoids couldn’t be used optimally by our body because milk makes them not available for us.
That brings us to dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) with no milk, high levels of the natural antioxidant flavonoids, being less processed and containing less sugar. The higher the amount of cacao in the dark chocolate, the less sweet it is and the more healthy it is.
The last, but not least, even dark chocolate in big amounts can harm your health because of the saturated fat. The advice from science is to eat 1-2 servings per week for women and 3-6 servings per week for men to maximize its health benefits. One serving is equal approximately to 30 gr or 1 oz of chocolate. Enjoy, but in moderation (as always)!
By the way, if you prefer dark chocolate, what % of cacao is your own compromise between bitterness and sweetness?