After reading that very successful triathlete Gwen Jorgensen eats dark chocolate everyday, I finally had a reason for why I should eat chocolate everyday too. It turns out that there are health benefits to eating modest amounts of dark chocolate daily, including lowering the risk of heart disease.
Triathlete Gwen Jorgensen eats dark chocolate regularly, “I have dark chocolate every single day. I actually have it after breakfast sometimes. And after lunch and dinner. Not an entire bar, but a couple of pieces.”
After reading this, I was immediately interested in learning more about the health benefits of dark chocolate for the following two reasons. First, as a collegiate athlete, I am very aware about what I put into my body and reading that an elite level athlete eats chocolate every day definitely piqued my interest. More importantly, the second reason I was interested in learning more is that chocolate is my second favorite food (behind pizza)!
When I began this very important research, I started with the simple principle that “every food is okay in moderation.” However, I quickly found that this style of eating is linked to poorer diet quality.
Researchers at Tufts found that, “Using this popular wisdom as a license to indulge in unhealthy foods can outweigh the advantages of eating a variety of foods that are good for you.” In other words, the word “moderation” is defined differently by everyone, and sometimes the benefits of eating in “moderation” is outweighed by the eating “everything” part.
A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating dark chocolate in “modest quantities may offer the greatest health benefits.”
I then started looking at the overall health benefits of dark chocolate.
A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating dark chocolate in “modest quantities may offer the greatest health benefits.” They found that dark chocolate contains flavonols, which are plant chemicals found in cocoa that may help to protect the heart, possibly in part by reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
Dark chocolate is also rich in:
- Iron is an essential part of blood production in the body.
- Copper helps maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function, and it contributes to iron absorption.
- Magnesium helps regulate muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and make protein, bone, and DNA.
- Zinc helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
- Phosphorus plays an important role in the formation of bones and teeth.
Additional research also agrees that dark chocolate may help lower the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, and also found that it might help improve brain function.
All of the studies concluded that more research has to be done to find more conclusive evidence (and I will definitely be a willing participant if they ever need volunteers!), and
with the key point that while dark chocolate may have health benefits, it is still high in fat and calories, so it is important to consume this yummy treat in moderation.
To all my chocolate manufacturers out there, think about marketing to those looking for a healthy bite of dark chocolate by creating individually wrapped servings.
Now, as I follow in the footsteps of Gwen Jorgensen and enjoy my dark chocolate snack, here are some of my favorite ways to eat dark chocolate:
- Snacking on a few squares – I love the 70% cocoa bar from Lindt!
- Dark chocolate covered almonds – I get mine from Trader Joes!
- Melted and drizzled over strawberries – yum!
Where This Leads Us
Micronutrients and the data hidden behind them are becoming more important.
Consumers, manufacturers, and scientists are chasing after this information. The world is changing – we yearn to know what we are consuming and what impact that has on our future.
And this is what we’re trying to accomplish at Journey Foods.
- if you really want to know how to incorporate chocolate into your products…
- if you want to be able to show your customer the micronutrients and antioxidants found in every chocolate morsel…
- if you want to know the cheapest and most efficient way to source ingredients (like chocolate) – getting real-time supply chain metrics…
Our smart software can help you get there.
At Journey Foods, we have a sweet-tooth for efficiency.
So don’t be a stranger! If you’d like to find out more, just get in touch 😁