Main content

Is chocolate good for me?

Why we should all eat dark chocolate – Professor Aedin Cassidy explains

Professor Aedin Cassidy gives us the good news – that chocolate can be good for us.

Over 5,000 flavonoids have been identified in nature. They’re all found in plants, where they play a vital role as a natural insecticide, but in humans they do something different. Flavonoids have been shown to lower blood pressure, increase the elasticity of blood vessels and arteries, reduce inflammation, and therefore reduce the risk of heart disease and help reduce cholesterol levels.

It’s one of the nation’s favourite foods – but can we really justify eating it on the grounds that it’s good for us?

So how much does a bar of chocolate contain? The most flavonoids are found in dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. Milk chocolate has a far smaller percentage of cocoa and much lower concentration of flavonoids, and white chocolate has none at all.

The other problem, of course, is that chocolate tends to contain things that are bad for us as well, such as sugar and saturated fat.

So although chocolate does have the potential to be good for our health, we only need a small dose, with a high cocoa content. 7-10 grams, or roughly the equivalent of 2 squares of dark chocolate is the limit.