We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Does Chocolate Really Have Health Benefits?

Margaret Lipman
Published Feb 16, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Whether you received a box of chocolates as a gift or snagged one (or more) in a post-Valentine’s Day sale, many of us are in possession of more candy than usual this week.

Unfortunately, gobbling down a heart-shaped box of chocolates isn’t likely to do anything positive for your health (or your heart). Yet chocolate lovers have reason to rejoice—as long as you can look beyond ultra-processed milk and white chocolate.

That’s because the health benefits of chocolate are primarily linked to cocoa, which is derived from ground and roasted cacao beans. In its natural form, cocoa contains antioxidant-rich flavonoids, which can help protect your cells from free radical damage. Dark chocolate also contains fiber and important minerals like iron, zinc, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium. In recent years, many health and nutrition experts have suggested that a small amount of dark chocolate (the darker the better) can be regularly incorporated into a healthy diet, whereas milk and white chocolate should be reserved for “treat” status.

A good rule of thumb is that as the cocoa concentration increases, so does the flavonoid concentration, while the amount of sugar usually decreases. Dark chocolate often contains anywhere from 50% to 90% cocoa solids, with the 70%, 75%, and 80% varieties often recognized as healthy yet palatable choices. You’re less likely to want to eat much of the 85% and 90% varieties. In comparison, milk chocolate has as little as 10% to 50% cocoa solids. And despite its name, white chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa solids.

Flavonoids have been studied extensively, and their positive health effects are widely accepted. Studies have linked them to a lowered risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. In addition to being good for the cardiovascular system due to improving blood flow, other research has suggested that flavonoids may be beneficial in improving mood, lessening depression symptoms, and improving cognitive function.

Fantastic flavonoids:

  • Unfortunately, product labels don’t reveal flavonoid concentrations, and consuming a large quantity of any kind of chocolate will give your body a huge amount of calories. For this reason, a relatively small serving of dark chocolate (one or two squares) every day or two may be the best way to benefit from flavonoids without the excess calories.

  • Once you start adding milk, sugar, and oils, the protective benefits of cocoa decline sharply. Even commercially manufactured dark chocolate has gone through a certain amount of processing that could diminish the flavonoid content and introduce additives.

  • Using plain cocoa powder in recipes or drinks is a good way to enjoy the benefits of flavonoids, which you'll also find in a wide range of plant products, from fruits and vegetables to tea and coffee.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Margaret Lipman
By Margaret Lipman , Writer and editor
With years of experience as an educator, Margaret Lipman produces thoughtful and informative content across a wide range of topics. Her articles cover essential areas such as finance, parenting, health and wellness, nutrition, educational strategies. Margaret's writing is guided by her passion for enriching the lives of her readers through practical advice and well-researched information.

Discussion Comments

Margaret Lipman

Margaret Lipman

Writer and editor

With years of experience as an educator, Margaret Lipman produces thoughtful and informative content across a wide range...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.