Dark chocolate, also known as black chocolate, is made from cocoa butter instead of milk-based butter. It contains a higher level of cocoa or cacao, around 60% to 99%. Cocoa contains more phenolic antioxidants than most foods and it is the high cocoa content in this chocolate that makes it a superior antioxidant. The more the cocoa content in a chocolate, the richer and bittersweet it becomes in taste. The dry and semisweet taste of this chocolate is attributed to the lack of milk solids in it. Instead, it contains vanilla and some other emulsifiers like soy lecithin to preserve its uniqueness in flavor and texture.
May protect your skin from the sun
The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate may also be great for your skin. The flavonols can protect against sun damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16702322
The minimal erythemal dose (MED) is the minimum amount of UVB rays required to cause redness in the skin 24 hours after exposure. In one study of 30 people, the MED more than doubled after consuming dark chocolate high in flavanols for 12 weeks. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19735513
Could improve brain function
Dark chocolate may also improve the function of your brain. One study of healthy volunteers showed that eating high-flavanol cocoa for five days improved blood flow to the brain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16794461
Cocoa may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. It may improve verbal fluency and several risk factors for disease, as well. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22892813
Additionally, cocoa contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may be a key reason why it can improve brain function in the short term. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15549276
Could aid with weight loss
A 2012 study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that, of the 1,000 healthy adults surveyed, those who ate chocolate a few times per week or more had lower BMIs than those who rarely indulged in the sweet – this was true even after researchers accounted for participants’ age and gender, as well as how much they exercised.
However, it’s important to note the findings only related to how often people ate chocolate, not the total amount they ate regularly.
As for those looking to lose weight but still get their fix? There’s no reason you can’t enjoy a square of dark chocolate as a daily treat. “If you love milk chocolate,
go gradually darker, starting with 55% cocoa before working your way to 90% cocoa,” advises nutritionist Francesca Cappozzo.
Preliminary studies demonstrate that dark chocolate consumption reduced excretion of cortisol and catecholamines, hormones involved in the body’s stress response.
Additionally, other researchers have shown that consumption of dark chocolate buffered stress responses and reduced levels of perceived stress as assessed through a stress questionnaire. Now it makes even more sense to keep a bar of dark chocolate at work. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350893/