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These Dark Chocolate Bars Are So Satisfying, You’ll Forget They’re Fairly Healthy

By Alyssa Jung, Stephanie Anderson Witmer of Prevention | Slide 1 of 18: As if the thought of savoring a square (or a whole bar) of dark chocolate wasn’t enticing enough, dark chocolate’s health claims are pretty appealing too. We’ve heard everything: It lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, improves cognitive function, protects your skin, and more. Check out what experts had to say about how healthy this treat actually is. The health benefits of dark chocolateThere’s been lots of research on dark chocolate, but the hype has outpaced the science. Translation: Eating dark chocolate won’t instantly or directly accomplish any of the above. What is certain is that cocoa is rich in three types of flavonoids—phytochemicals in nearly all plant-based foods that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers. This is important because chronic inflammation is linked to conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic syndrome, asthma, heart disease, and cancer.“These compounds also benefit cardiovascular health by improving blood flow, reducing the risk of clotting, and improving blood pressure levels,” says Whitney Linsenmeyer, Ph.D., R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Cocoa is also rich in iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium, all critical minerals needed for healthy blood, immunity, and cell growth. How much dark chocolate is healthy to eat?There’s no magic quantity of dark chocolate you need to eat to get those flavonoids; the dosage used in studies varies. But experts agree that you should treat it like you would any other piece of candy and consume it in moderation.“It’s best reserved as a treat,” says Young. “Yes, it does contain antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals, but let’s not call it a health food—it still contains plenty of sugar and fat.” In other words, aim for 1/4 of a full-size bar. How we chose the best dark chocolateWe consulted Linsenmeyer, Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., R.D.N., an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., a New York-based nutrition consultant and author of

As if the thought of savoring a square (or a whole bar) of dark chocolate wasn’t enticing enough, dark chocolate’s health claims are pretty appealing too. We’ve heard everything: It lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, improves cognitive function, protects your skin, and more. Check out what experts had to say about how healthy this treat actually is.

The health benefits of dark chocolate

There’s been lots of research on dark chocolate, but the hype has outpaced the science. Translation: Eating dark chocolate won’t instantly or directly accomplish any of the above. What is certain is that cocoa is rich in three types of flavonoids—phytochemicals in nearly all plant-based foods that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers. This is important because chronic inflammation is linked to conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic syndrome, asthma, heart disease, and cancer.

“These compounds also benefit cardiovascular health by improving blood flow, reducing the risk of clotting, and improving blood pressure levels,” says Whitney Linsenmeyer, Ph.D., R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Cocoa is also rich in iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium, all critical minerals needed for healthy blood, immunity, and cell growth.

How much dark chocolate is healthy to eat?

There’s no magic quantity of dark chocolate you need to eat to get those flavonoids; the dosage used in studies varies. But experts agree that you should treat it like you would any other piece of candy and consume it in moderation.“It’s best reserved as a treat,” says Young. “Yes, it does contain antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals, but let’s not call it a health food—it still contains plenty of sugar and fat.” In other words, aim for 1/4 of a full-size bar.

How we chose the best dark chocolate

We consulted Linsenmeyer, Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., R.D.N., an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., a New York-based nutrition consultant and author of

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