What a glorious day, just found another reason to eat chocolate, the decadent treat so loved by many. While we’ve known for a while that dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, not to mention flavour, did you know (in descending order*) it’s high in manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and selenium?
Just one ounce of the stuff has 19% of the recommended daily amount of iron or Percent Daily Values ** (%DV). One little ounce. And apparently most of us don’t get enough magnesium in our diets, so eat an ounce of dark chocolate and you’ve just boosted your magnesium count by 16%). Manganese comes in at a whopping 27% and copper at 25%.
And who would have thought dark chocolate was a good source of fiber? That one ounce has 12% of our %DV. Even got some of that caffeine that turns out to have some health benefits of its own. But coffee comes out on top on this one, with a cup of regular brewed coffee averaging four times the caffeine of one ounce of chocolate. So, café mocha anyone?
While it is high in fat (18% of %DV), but since it’s from cocoa butter, it apparently actually has a neutral effect on cholesterol. And its total carbohydrate load of 4% of the %DV apparently doesn’t cause a sharp rise in blood sugar because of the slower absorption rate of dark chocolate.
Comparing iron content, one ounce in weight of Popeye’s favourite (just under 1 cup in volume if raw) has just 4% of the %DV of iron versus dark chocolate’s 19%. Wonder how strong Popeye would have been if he’d eaten dark chocolate bars instead of all those cans of spinach. Obviously spinach has many other wonderful nutritional attributes, but as an iron source, unless one ate five or more cups of spinach per serving, dark chocolate comes out on top. Who new?
And what about red meat? Turns out an ounce of beef sirloin has just 3% of the recommended daily amount. Granted, under most circumstances, a serving of beef would be larger than a serving of chocolate, but you’d have to eat more than 6 ounces of cooked meat to even equal the iron in one ounce of dark chocolate. How come red meat is praised as a good source of iron, but not chocolate? Sounds like a conspiracy against my little friend the cacao bean…
Doesn’t seem like such decadent behaviour now. May have to rethink the use of that term considering it’s defined as, “Marked by or providing unrestrained gratification; self-indulgent.” Hardly seems to fit anymore after examining nutritional analyses. Not that we could, or should live on chocolate, but it is nice to know that just because something tastes good, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad for us. Just like coffee…hmmmm…more reason to eat those chocolate covered coffee beans (Dark Chocolate Coffee Beans – 15 Lb Dark Choc Coffee Beans) now too… Life is sweet.
* All nutritional counts and percentages from nutritiondata.com
**Percent Daily Values (%DV) are for adults or children aged 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.