Health & Wellness / Press Releases

Is the High Level of Cocoa in Dark Chocolate Good For You?


WASHINGTON, DC, Jan 14 – News about your health can be quite depressing – especially these days – but the news that eating dark chocolate, the kind that contains lots of cocoa, can be good for your health, can come as a deliciously delightful surprise, says Rebecca Weber, CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC]. In fact, each year around this time, in the weeks before Valentine’s Day, news outlets seem to besiege us with the “chocolate is good for you” message. But, suggests Weber, it would be wise to consult with your doctor before going on a chocolate binge.

“It used to be a no-no, particularly for seniors, but research in recent years suggests that, if you don’t overdo it, eating dark chocolate can be good for you. Numerous studies show that regularly treating yourself with about half an ounce of dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, reduce your levels of bad “LDL” cholesterol and increase your levels of HDL, the good cholesterol. And some researchers believe that it can improve cognitive function,” says Weber. 

According to the National Institutes of Health [NIH], up until the medical community began conducting deep scientific research into the negative and positive effects of chocolate, health care providers warned their patients of the potential health hazards of consuming large amounts of chocolate. Patients were told that, while it is indeed a tasty treat, it could also have ill effects on your health, such as acne, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. 

“However,” says the NIH, “the recent discovery of biologically active phenolic compounds in cocoa has changed this perception and stimulated research on its effects in aging, oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis. Today, chocolate is lauded for its tremendous antioxidant potential. However, in many studies, contradictory results and concerns about methodological issues have made it hard for health professionals and the public to understand the available evidence on chocolate’s effects on health.” 

Epicatechin [EPI] is a flavanol found in a number of foods we eat, including cocoa. But it is said that the amount of epicatechin in cocoa is particularly high. In a paper produced by researchers María Ángeles Martin and Sonia Ramos of the Department of Metabolism and Nutrition at Spain’s Institute of Food Science and Technology, they found that: “Cocoa is a source of flavanols [epicatechin], and these phenolic compounds exert beneficial effects on health and aging and reduce the risk of suffering chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, cancer). An increasing body of evidence has emerged to suggest that cocoa flavanols potentially are important chemopreventive natural agents.” 

Many researchers around the world have come to the same conclusion, suggesting that if you have a craving for chocolate, you should avoid processed chocolate treats that contain additives and have low cocoa content. What you’re looking for, they say, is chocolate with a high content of cocoa, namely dark chocolate that contains 70% to 85% of cocoa.

As the Mayo Clinic puts it: “Healthy chocolate sounds like a dream come true, but chocolate hasn’t gained the status of a health food quite yet. Still, chocolate’s reputation is on the rise, as a growing number of studies suggest that it can be a heart-healthy choice … cocoa itself, unlike chocolate, is low in sugar and fat while offering potential health benefits. If you enjoy chocolate flavor, add plain cocoa to your low-fat milk or morning oats.”

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1 year ago

I you are keeping an eye on the entries you’re not doing a very good job and the big red circles is in the way. Either make it functional or remove it.

April S
1 year ago

The cocoa is good for us – but not the high sugar content that’s usually paired with the cocoa – as in a dark chocolate truffle Sees treat!!! Many folks will read this article and may not consider the fact that a plain bar of 85% cacao dark chocolate may be fairly low in sugar, but two Sees dark chocolate truffles will have a much higher sugar content. 2 truffles have 16 grams of sugar! And many people can’t eat just one piece. The daily maximum amount of sugar grams for an adult male should be about 40-50 grams depending on activity level. I stick to about 30 gms a day and am very healthy for my age – 69 and no meds or degenerative diseases of aging. Diabetics might be aware of grams of sugar in foods, but other folks may not realize. I feel it’s important to include data showing the comprehensive picture of a food when we teach folks that foods like cocoa – and wine – are good for us. They can be, but…


1 year ago

I eat two squares of Baker’s Chocolate every day. 100% cocao, and 0% sugar. It’s bitter, and takes a bit to get used to, but once you do get used to it, it’s quite good…

1 year ago

It’s about time the media has discovered the benefits of dark chocolate. I started eating dark chocolate many years ago when I read some medical papers on its benefits. I also continued, more accurately, returned to drinking coffee after reading medical research on the benefits of that drink.

1 year ago

Love, love chocolate!

Dark chocolate took a little getting used to, but I force myself to have a couple of pieces of Costco’s Bark Thins (dark chocolate, almond bits, sea salt) instead of the creamy Lindt bar. It’s those antioxidants I’m after. Sometimes, though, a homemade chocolate cream pie hits the spot, no matter what’s in it.

Dan W.
1 year ago
Reply to  Kim

Try a Ghirardelli Intense Dark (72% cacao) twilight delight dark chocolate bar.

Just enough sweetness to the dark chocolate flavor at 72% and Ghirardelli does not use the dutched manufacturing process so you get a full dose of antioxidants too.

1 year ago
Reply to  Dan W.

I will. Thanks, Dan!

Dan W.
1 year ago

If you are looking for the antioxidant effect of dark chocolate, read the label and stay away from dutched or alkalized chocolate. Dutch/alkalized processed cocoa contains lower amounts of antioxidants (flavonols). 

Dutched processed cocoa is treated with an alkalizing agent to reduce the natural acidity of cocoa, giving it a less bitter taste (and darker color). It forms the basis for much of modern chocolate and is used in ice cream, hot chocolate and baking.

1 year ago
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1 year ago
Reply to  JoyceRobertson


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1 year ago
Reply to  JoyceRobertson

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