Health Benefits of Chocolate


Residential Dining Director Greg Crawford said there has been a reduction in waste as the semester progresses following the Fall 2017 food waste project. 

Marquietta Green

Despite the many negative health stigmas associated with eating chocolate, you may now feel less guilty about eating so much chocolate this Halloween after reading this article. In fact, chocolate is not only a tasty treat, but it’s healthy for our bodies.
A Healthy Heart
Scientists aren’t sure of what makes chocolate so healthy for the heart but recent studies have shown that eating dark chocolate has been known to boost heart health.
“A certain antioxidant called flavanol which is produced in plants including the cocoa plant has been shown to increase cardiovascular health,”Emily Tyus, graduate student and Dietetic Intern, said.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, studies have also shown benefits to memory and concentration from eating flavanol-rich chocolate.
“We all want to be able to live a long healthy life and what better way to do it than to eat my favorite bag of M&M’s everyday,” Ayanna Lindsay, sophomore psychology and public relations major said.
Weight Loss
Eating dark chocolate can even help shed those extra pounds that you’ve gained throughout your college years.  There are multiple factors  such as eating habits and exercise, but going from eating a snickers bar every day to incorporating dark chocolate into your diet in moderation and getting rid of other sugary foods can possibly help, Brittany Parham, Nutritional Coordinator at Eagle Dining Services, said.
“Dark chocolate has natural fat, little processed sugar, and several vitamins and  minerals,such as,magnesium, and vitamin K. Chocolate milk has been proven to be a better source of energy after exercise than anything else,”graduate student and Dietetic Intern Brittany Roley said.
Although there are many types of chocolates and candies, not all chocolate is made equally the same.
Stress Management
Assignments and studying for tests have you stressed? Take a bite out of stress and grab a chocolate bar!
“Studies have shown eating dark chocolate can improve stress hormones and cognitive function,” Roley said.
When you are stressed, your body’s chemistry becomes unbalanced and in the long run this can be harmful to your health.  Eating one average sized dark chocolate bar everyday can reduce levels of stress in people who are highly stressed.
Psychology Today even reports pregnant women who eat more chocolate during pregnancy give birth to more stress-free babies.  Dark chocolate is also shown to increase mood when used in moderation, So don’t have a nervous breakdown.  
Skin Protection
Reap not only the health benefits but the beauty rewards by indulging in your favorite chocolate treats. The flavonols in dark chocolate can protect the skin against sun damage. Cocoa helps reduce stress hormones, which means less collagen breakdown in the skin, and fewer wrinkles.In one study, flavonols in dark chocolate even improved skin hydration and thickness both important for young-looking skin.
“I would suggest students to get dark chocolate and to check ingredient lists. The more ingredients the more sugar and chemicals you’re putting in your body,”Roley said
Eagle Dining Services also tries to incorporate dark chocolate in a number of specialty foods in both dining facilities for students.
“When it comes to baking we can use the dark chocolate cocoa powder and unsweetened or dark chocolate chips because we know that those are typically better for students than the traditional chocolate,” Parham said.
For the most noticeable benefits, choose chocolate with high levels of cocoa. In other words, reach for the dark chocolate instead.
Here are a list of some dark chocolates that we recommend you should try to sweeten your day:

  • Dove chocolate bars/squares
  • Hershey dark chocolate bars and dark chocolate syrup
  • Dark Chocolate M&M’s
  • KitKat
  • Dark chocolate Dutch pretzels