Does consuming chocolate actually have any health benefits?

Yes, but only if it’s eaten responsibly

Stock image. Polina Tankilevitch (Pexels)

Can chocolate actually -- gasp -- be good for you?

Believe it or not, there are some health benefits to consuming chocolate.

Recommended Videos

However, before stuffing your face with all kinds of chocolate given Friday is World Chocolate Day, it’s important to remember that the health benefits only work if you eat the right kind of chocolate, and do so in moderation.

Repeat: Eat the right types of chocolate in MODERATION.

If consumed correct and responsibly, here is a breakdown of how chocolate can aid your health.

The power of flavonoids

A major component of chocolate is the cocoa bean, and the cocoa bean contains nutrients called flavonoids.

So, what exactly are flavonoids?

They are an antioxidant that helps protect plants from environmental toxins, and they also help do that for the human body, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

One thing: The number of flavonoids in chocolate can be lost the more that it’s processed, and many popular chocolate items are processed by manufacturers.

Specific health benefits

Consuming chocolate properly and in moderation can possibly produce the following health benefits, according to MedicalNewsToday.

  • Lowering of cholesterol levels.
  • Helping to keep the brain healthy.
  • Potentially lowering the risk of heart disease by one-third.
  • Decreasing the odds of stroke by eating one serving.
  • Aiding in fetal growth development.
  • Helping to boost oxygen availability.

Comparing the types of chocolate to consume

  • Dark chocolate. This is widely considered to be the “healthiest” of the chocolate types, as long as it’s consumed responsibly. Eating it unsweetened is the best way to go. Dark chocolate tends to have a higher concentration of cocoa, and thus, higher levels of antioxidants, according to MedicalNews Today.
  • Milk chocolate. This tends to be unhealthy because it often contains more sugar, milk and cholesterol than dark chocolate, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Milk chocolate also is more featured in candy, and thus, is processed more. Proponents do say it has more calcium and protein than dark chocolate.
  • White chocolate. This has some antioxidants, but overall, it’s not considered a healthy eating option due to a high content of sugar and fat, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

World Chocolate Day can still be a day to celebrate, no matter what the motive is.

If you simply want to indulge in a delicious treat and not worry about any health consequences, it’s a good day to do so.

But if you want to consume chocolate AND have it include some health benefits, there are definitely ways it can be done.

About the Author

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.