How bitter chocolate is useful — 8 proven properties

Dark chocolate (also known as dark or bitter chocolate) is a type of chocolate that consists of grated cocoa, cocoa butter and sugar, but without the addition of milk. It is considered more healthy because it contains more cocoa and less sugar than other types of chocolate.

The taste characteristics and properties of the product depend on the ratio of cocoa and sugar. The more cocoa there is in chocolate, the more bitter it tastes. The bitterest chocolate is sold under the name &171;bitter&187; (70-80% cocoa), less bitter — under the name &171;dark&187; or &171; black&187; (about 50% cocoa).

Bitter chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or more has the greatest benefit.

8 proven properties

The following are the key points about the benefits of bitter chocolate for our health.

1. Contains useful substances

Bitter chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) possesses high energy value (almost 600 calories per 100 grams), rich in fiber, minerals and some vitamins. Consider the composition in the table:

Name of the substance Approximate percentage of the daily value in 1 bar (100 grams) of chocolate
Dietary Fiber 37 %
Iron 67 %
Magnesium 58 %
Copper 89 %
Manganese 98 %
Vitamin K 9 %

It also contains small amounts of zinc and phosphorus, potassium and selenium, and valuable mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

The product also contains caffeine and theobromine, but these central nervous system stimulants are extremely few (hundreds of times less than in coffee).

High-quality dark chocolate, consumed in moderate amounts, is a valuable source of biologically active substances for the human body.

2. It has an antioxidant effect

Foreign studies include cocoa and dark chocolate to "super foods". Cocoa tree seeds contain a lot of flavonoids, polyphenols and other biologically active substances that show antioxidant activity.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals (during oxidative stress). These "aggressive" molecules can cause cell damage and disrupt the functioning of organs, increase the likelihood of developing chronic diseases and malignant tumors.

Installed the role of free radicals in the appearance and worsening of the course of the following diseases: coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction, hypertension, chronic cerebral ischemia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, type II diabetes mellitus, tumors.

Dark chocolate varieties contain antioxidants that protect the human body from certain chronic pathologies and malignant tumors.

3. Reduces blood pressure

Research by German specialists show that the active components of dark chocolate stimulate the production of nitric oxide by the endothelial cells of arterial vessels.

As a result, nitric oxide causes local dilation of the arteries, followed by a decrease in the total peripheral vascular resistance and, as a result, blood pressure.

British specialists underline that the hypotensive effect is long-term. Blood pressure decreases after a few hours from the moment of drinking cocoa and persists for up to 2-3 weeks.

The described positive properties allow the use of various brands of dark chocolate for the prevention of the development, as well as therapy (in conjunction with medications) of hypertension. Active substances stabilize the blood pressure level, prevent its sharp jumps (hypertensive crises).

Taking products with cocoa helps to ease the course and prevent the development of hypertension.

4. Fights atherosclerosis

Scientific works demonstrate the ability of cocoa powder to reduce the amount of total cholesterol , as well as low-density lipoproteins ("harmful" cholesterol) in men.

The effect of lowering cholesterol, as claim employees of the University of California (USA), associated with a large amount of antioxidants in the composition.

Reducing the number of atherogenic ("harmful") lipids in the blood prevents the deposition of atherosclerotic plaques on the inner walls of the arteries. In the future, the plaques may be damaged, which contributes to the formation of a blood clot near it, which can partially or completely limit blood flow.

Systematic consumption of bitter chocolate is a pleasant and effective way to protect the body from diseases such as coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction, stroke and chronic cerebral ischemia.

Dark chocolate antioxidants reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and prevent the appearance of atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels.

5. Reduce the incidence of vascular catastrophes

As already mentioned, the product helps to keep blood pressure levels stable, and also improves blood biochemical parameters (cholesterol levels).

Modern research has documented more significant benefits of eating chocolate for the cardiovascular system.

Taking only 2.11 grams of cocoa per day for a long time reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases by half. To similar conclusions came experts from the Netherlands.

According to American scientists, taking chocolate 2-3 times a week reduces the probability of calcified plaques in the walls of arteries is 32%.

Scientists recommend adding high-quality brands of dark chocolate to the diet on a regular basis. For example, eating a product more than 5 times a week reduces the risk of developing heart and vascular diseases is 57%.

Bitter chocolate, due to its complex positive effect on the cardiovascular system, increases life expectancy.

6. Protects the skin from harmful solar radiation

Prolonged exposure to sunlight is fraught with the development of burns, which cause a lot of physical and psychological troubles. An additional disadvantage is an increased risk of malignancy ("transformation" into cancerous tumors) of pigmented nevi ("moles").

Proven that the antioxidants of cocoa powder increase blood flow to the cells of the dermis, activate metabolic processes and moisturize the skin. Against the background of such changes, the skin becomes less sensitive to prolonged exposure to the sun.

Systematic intake of chocolate for 3 months allows you to strengthen the skin's resistance to harmful UV effects is 2 times.

Bitter chocolate is indispensable during the period of active recreation with prolonged exposure to the open sun.

Cocoa's active ingredients help protect the skin from harmful solar radiation.

7. Improves brain function

Flavonols of cocoa powder, according to research by scientists from the UK, increase blood flow to brain tissues.

Dark chocolate can improve the functional activity of the central nervous system in various diseases (for example, vascular dementia).

Also, due to the presence of a large amount of antioxidants in the composition, the product can reduce the likelihood of developing neurodegenerative pathologies (Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease).

Detected that small amounts of caffeine and theobromine present in dark chocolate varieties stimulate the work of the cerebral cortex. Such properties allow you to normalize the cognitive sphere (memory, thinking, attention), which is especially important during a period of active mental stress.

Dark chocolate has a complex effect on brain tissue, supporting its work and reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases.

8. Fights diabetes mellitus

The development of the most dangerous endocrine disease – type II diabetes mellitus – is based on insulin resistance.

In this condition, muscle and adipose tissue cells stop responding to insulin produced by the pancreas and capture their blood sugar. As a result, gradually the level of glucose in the blood plasma rises, leading to irreversible changes in all organs and tissues.

Foreign studies show that a daily intake of 40 grams of 70 percent dark chocolate can significantly reduce blood glucose levels for 2 hours. Prolonged use of the product also has a positive effect on insulin resistance.

Chocolate contains a small amount of sugar (both glucose and fructose) and does not harm the figure or the glycemic background. It can be safely taken for diabetes mellitus, as well as for weight loss. The main thing is rationing consumption.

Bitter chocolate increases the sensitivity of peripheral tissues to insulin, facilitating the course or preventing the development of type II diabetes mellitus.

Possible harm

Bitter chocolate is not a harmless product that can harm the body.

When taking it (especially in excess volumes), the following side effects may develop:

  1. Obesity. Bitter chocolate is a fatty and high–calorie food product. It is useful when consumed only in small amounts. Overeating is fraught with the formation of excess body fat or becoming obese.
  2. Exacerbation of chronic diseases of the digestive system . Cocoa can irritate the mucous membranes of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. It is not recommended to eat the product in the morning (on an empty stomach), as well as after a long period of fasting. Neglect of this rule can lead to an exacerbation of chronic gastritis or duodenitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum.
  3. Sleep disturbance . Chocolate stimulates the functional activity of the brain. When taken in large volumes or with initially disturbed sleep, problems with falling asleep may occur.
  4. Allergic reactions . They are usually found when taking cocoa butter or powder. They are characterized by a severe course (anaphylaxis).

Bitter chocolate is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women. During pregnancy, only milk chocolate is allowed and in small portions (up to 20-25 grams per day), it is better to abandon the product during breastfeeding.

Bitter chocolate is a healthy food product, however, with an irrational approach to intake, it can harm health.

Tips for use

Let's consider a few banal rules that will reveal all the medicinal properties of dark chocolate:

  1. Which one to choose. It is recommended to give preference to a product with a cocoa content of at least 70%. The presence of cocoa butter, sugar and milk is also acceptable in the composition. The presence of artificial fats, dyes, preservatives and sweeteners is unacceptable.
  2. How to store . Chocolate can be stored at room temperature (up to 15-20 °C) in a place protected from water and sunlight.
  3. How much is possible per day . It is allowed to take no more than 40-50 grams of chocolate per day. Children from 7 to 14 years old – up to 15-20 grams, 15-17 years old – 30-40 grams.
  4. When is it better to eat . The product is recommended to be consumed after a large meal or a small snack. Taking on an empty stomach or after prolonged fasting (6 or more hours) is undesirable.
  5. What can I eat with . Chocolate can be consumed with any food. Preferably, wash down each slice with hot tea or milk.
Banal rules allow you to preserve and reveal all the biological properties of chocolate.


  1. Bitter chocolate is a special food product characterized by a high cocoa content in the composition.
  2. It has a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect, is beneficial for the health of the cardiovascular, endocrine and central nervous systems. It even allows you to prevent the development of malignant tumors.
  3. When using the product, side effects may develop, which must be remembered. Pregnant and lactating women should avoid dark chocolate varieties.