As one of the most highly indulgent treats, chocolate is regarded as one of the most decadent eats throughout history. Discovered by the ancient Mayans, this aromatic and delectable delight hasn’t always been sweet.

The ancient Aztecs believed cacao was more valuable than gold and used it for currency and celebratory purposes. The Mayans drank it with every meal, combined with chilli and honey to make a thick and frothy drink. When the Spaniards discovered chocolate in 1502, they introduced it to Europe as a warm drink with milk. Today, chocolate is enjoyed in many forms and loved throughout the world.

It’s time to treat yourself while we find out once and for all if chocolate is good for you.

How is chocolate made?

Chocolate comes from the berries of the Cacao tree, which originated in the rain forests of  South America. The berries are called a pod and contain around 40 or so beans (or seeds). Once the beans are removed from the pod and fermented, the beans are dried out and roasted.

After being roasted, they separate the beans from the nibs, grounded and turned into cocoa liquor. To make dark chocolate, they use the cocoa liquor mixed with cocoa butter and then ‘conched’, which needs to aerate the chocolate and improve the flavour. Once conched, the chocolate is tempered – heated and cooled a few times while stirring, giving it its glossy finish and ‘snap’ when broken.

But is it healthy?

According to Healthline, dark chocolate is full of nutrients that can benefit your health because it is full of antioxidants. Dark chocolate also contains a significant amount of soluble fibre and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and potassium. However, your average milk chocolate bar isn’t considered healthy because added ingredients like sugar are added to improve flavour.

With all these great nutrients, the health benefits are equally as impressive. Here are the top 6 benefits of eating dark chocolate:

1. It is great for your HDL cholesterol levels, as dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called polyphenols which is excellent for supporting heart health

2. Eating dark chocolate makes you happy. It boosts the feel-good chemical in your brain called endorphins, similar to the feeling of being in love.

3. It can improve your focus and memory. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids within the cocoa, which is beneficial to the part of your brain involved in learning and focus.

4. Dark chocolate may be beneficial to your gut health. There are
trillions of good and bad bacteria in your gut. The good bacteria tend to feast on dark chocolate and ferment it; this then turns into anti-inflammatory compounds with heaps of benefits to your body.

5. As dark chocolate contains antioxidants, it helps neutralise free radical damage in your skin and brain.

However, chocolate should be enjoyed and consumed in moderation with a well-rounded diet.



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  3. Downing, S (2021) health benefits of chocolate (to give you an extra excuse to eat some). Honey Coach Nine. Accessed <>
  4. Gunnars, K (2018). 7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate. Healthline. Accessed <>
  5. Alban, P & Alban, D (n.d) 9 Proven brain benefits of dark chocolate. Be Brain fit. Accessed <>
  6. Wallace, J (2020). Celebrating all things cocoa for World Chocolate Day. The Canberra Times. Accessed <>

About the Author:

Latasha Trenaman is a Sydney based writer who is passionate about healthy eating. Latasha’s partner was diagnosed with diabetes in 2018. She has made it her life mission to share her and her partners’ experiences living with diabetes by promoting healthy food, especially sugar-free options. She believes in the power of writing and how it can inspire others in their journey to becoming more healthy. When she is not writing, she is walking her dog or baking sugar-free treats.