Dark chocolate and your health

I’ve been reading lately that chocolate (specifically high-quality, low-sugar dark chocolate, containing no fat other than cocoa butter, and consumed regularly but in moderation) can be good for your health. Here are some of the purported benefits:

Helps stop a persistent cough (more effectively than codeine)
Helps stop diarrhea
Helps fight depression
Protects the heart and arteries through anti-oxidant effects (“Dark chocolate was found to boost blood antioxidant levels by nearly 20%”)
Increases HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lowers triglycerides
Helps prevent heart attacks and strokes by decreasing clotting in the blood
Helps lower blood pressure

I’m wondering whether anyone here has actually been taking chocolate for any of these purposes, and if so, are you taking the right kind and in a reasonable amount?

It certainly is an alluring idea – chocolate as medicine! YUM. :slight_smile:

Hey DB. I recommended a book in this forum some time ago called “Food That Fight Cancer”. In it, dark chocolate is mentioned as one of the recommended foods that form an anti-cancer diet. The suggested portion is 40mg or a couple of squares per day. The amount of dark chocolate must be at least 70%. I hope to add this as a part of my daily diet eventually.

Oops…I meant 40g, NOT 40mg. :stuck_out_tongue:

my optometrist believes that dark chocolate is good for the eyes too.

In the cornerstores, it’s now very easy to find 89% dark chocolate. Look for those Japanese branded ones.

Why wait? :laughing:

I’m sure you can find some very good dark chocolates there. The ones here in convenience stores (e.g., Always, Ghana, etc.) and Wellman’s (e.g., Hershey’s Special Dark) aren’t very good, and the latter isn’t even dark chocolate – it’s loaded with sugar and milk. Avoid! But Jason’s has a wide selection, ranging from barely edible to orgasmic. I’m having a piece of EDEL BIO organic extra dark 71% right now. Not bad, from Belgium. A bit too peaty, though.

For anyone who thinks they won’t like dark chocolate, I recommend trying Michel Cluizel NOIR de Cacao 72%, which has beans of such quality, and so expertly roasted and blended, that it doesn’t have the bitterness you might fear, nor does it have the burnt, tobacco, ash or peat flavors that really detract from some of the other ‘premium’ darks. Or try Michel Cluizel 60 first, then move up. If you can’t get that, consider Ghirardelli Dark 60%, and then after that move to a higher %.

Why wait? :laughing:[/quote]
Because my wife does the groceries. :smiley:

DB, did you ever eat peat? How do you know it tastes peaty?

40 g of dark chocolate is a HUGE amount, given how strong it is. I don’t think I can eat that much every day. 10 or 20g, perhaps.

:laughing: I used to unload sacks of peat at a garden supply store. They would toss them to us and sometimes we’d get some all over us. I’ll leave the rest to your kinky imagination. :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote=“Jack Burton”]my optometrist believes that dark chocolate is good for the eyes too.

In the cornerstores, it’s now very easy to find 89% dark chocolate. Look for those Japanese branded ones.[/quote]

Well, you can try those, but don’t be surprised if they’re inedible. I had one that was Meiji, somewhere between 79 and 99%. Ugh. It was awful. Here are some I recommend instead (and some I’d avoid):


Michel Cluizel NOIR de Cacao 72%: Bittersweet but not unpleasantly bitter. The flavor is reminiscent of raisins, nuts. More than anything, strongly COCOA, dark, rich, intoxicating. A nice, dark woody coffee finish that invites you back for more, without too much bitterness, and without any of the unpleasant burnt, peat or tobacco flavors of some other over-60% offerings. This is what chocolate should be.

Michel Cluizel’s Grand Noir 85%: Powerfully dark, bitter yet palatable, mitigated greatly by rich creaminess and slightly by the raisiny fruitiness, which is restrained compared to Ghirardelli’s ultra-darks. That restraint allows the powerful darkness of Grand Noir to dominate. The flavor isn’t particularly complex – it’s straightforward dark, dark, dark. Not a bad thing. The finish is a smoky, espresso-like bitterness, with only the merest hint of tobacco, not unpleasant like some of the other ‘gourmet’ superdarks. This 85 is definitely darker than my current preference, but I’m surprised by how good this one still is. Amazingly palatable for this strength level.

Michel Cluizel NOIR de Cacao 60%: A bit sweet but pleasantly so, and balanced by adequate acidity, with Bourbon vanilla. Not complex, but earthy, with hints of nuts and raisins. Harmonious.


Ghirardelli Dark 60%: A bit sweet but pleasantly so, and balanced by plentiful acidity, with signature raspberry and hints of cherry and raisins. Adequately complex, with a nice lingering mixture of flavors. If you’re afraid of dark chocolate this is a good one to start with.

Edel BIO Organic Extra Dark 71%: (Belgium) Sweet nose, and a very bright, acidic start with raisins, a strong peaty & tobacco tone, a creamy mouthfeel, balance of acidity and rich dark chocolate center tones. Not as complex or interesting as the Cluizel 72, and the peatiness and tobacco detract slightly.

Also ranswith some unpleasant flavors, e.g., ashtray-like aftertaste, excessive notes of tobacco, etc.

Chocolat Stella NOIR extra dark chocolate 75% Costa Rica (Swiss): aroma is a clean, fruity dark chocolate smell. Flavor: dark chocolate with balancing acidity, raisins, a very dark coffee roast but a bit burnt. The burnt aspect lingers in the peaty finish, unfortunately.

[b]Droste /b Superior Extra Dark 75% Cocoa: Sweet (compared to the cocoa %), with hints of tobacco, hints of fruitiness, a good, competent but not orgasmic dark chocolate middle, lacking in complexity and depth, with a slightly poor finish – woody, peaty, slightly cardboard? with hints of tobacco. Unfortunately, that finish lingers endlessly and becomes more unpleasant; 15 minutes later you feel like you need to eat something else to try to get rid of it. Yuck. The middle is really quite good, but the use of artificial vanilla tells you Droste cut some corners, which is a shame, and clearly, they haven’t put in the necessary quality of ingredients and processing necessary for greatness.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Premium Baking Bar 70% Cacao Extra Bittersweet Chocolate: Aroma and main flavor are signature Ghirardelli (not a bad thing at all!), with the soft cherry/raisin notes and a hint of tobacco; unfortunately, there is a strong, lingering tobacco finish. Rich and dark, with no excessive sweetness, this is a very good bar except for that tobacco finish; if that doesn’t put you off, this is an excellent bar.

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Twilight Delight 72%: Again typical Ghirardelli, with soft cherry and raisin, maybe raspberry, nice acidity balancing the rich deep dark chocolate flavor, a hint of tobacco and burnt coffee (ashiness?) which grows stronger in the woody, earthy finish. This finish lingers unpleasantly as if one has licked an ashtray. Not every chocolatier succeeds when they exceed 65% – it’s apparently difficult to do without creating significant flaws like excessive bitterness, burnt flavors, and so on. This would have been nice without that aftertaste.

Not recommended:

Ghana Premium black chocolate (Too sweet, cloying, lacks complexity)
Always Dark (Tastes very dark, but rather burnt, with a burnt aftertaste. Lacks complexity. Unsatisfying.)
Villars Chocolat Noir 72% (Tastes very dark, a bit ash-like, powdery, woody. A bit boring.)
Kaiser (甘百世) 72% (A bit sweet but pleasantly so; hard, waxy, a bit boring. Lacks depth. Unremarkable finish.)

Definitely avoid:
Hershey’s Special Dark: Not dark chocolate anyway.


… and lickin’ ash trays …

Some of us have strange pasts. :stuck_out_tongue:

Nice write up. I never realized chocolate could have so much complexity.

I have enjoyed Dove’s new dark chocolate bars in 7-Eleven (and I’ve started seeing them in Family Mart too). I’m no taste connoisseur, but I loved their bar from Ghana cacao beans a lot. The Dominican Republic one is nice too. I think they are 68% cacao.

40 g of dark chocolate is a HUGE amount, given how strong it is. I don’t think I can eat that much every day. 10 or 20g, perhaps.[/quote]
I just realized that 40g is about three quarters of a typical flat bar of dark chocolate. Quite a bit. Perhaps you can shave it and put it as topping on stuff or melt a square in your daily coffee. For high quality dark chocolate, this can get quite expensive. The authors did state that their cancer diet is fairly aggressive because it is targeted at those that are at high risk (overweight, family history, environmental factors).

Y’know, my pei4ou3 tasted it just now and said it had a slightly unpleasant woody taste, without having first heard my comments. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else described it as musty cardboard, or smoky paper – it’s a hard to describe, smoky, organic quality.

saw a 100% bar in the store yesterday, writeup included phrase “intense and persistent bitterness” i passed lol

From NZ, Wittaker’s chocolate bars are now at the 7-11 (new/trial/promotion products area). Peanut slabs are awesome (but even better in NZ). If you want some dark chocolate, they have a 72% or something cocoa one.


I had a 72% cacao bar and it was too bitter for my liking. But then, 59g of 68% cacao is the same as 40g of 70%…


You should try Michel Cluizel’s 72% before giving up on 72’s. Seriously.


I like up to 86% …

How much? Chocolate is a luxury for poor, grossly underappreciated English teachers like me. I mean, one 7-Eleven bar is almost a third of my daily budget.