Three Health Benefits of Chocolate

Why you can indulge in the sweet treat (in moderation, of course).


Amanda Vu

Senior Caroline Altman Farrell has been an avid chocolate lover since he was a child. Farrell tries to spend time with his family enjoying chocolate every night. “Chocolate has always been a mood-booster for me and I have good memories of enjoying it with family.”

Amanda Vu, Opinions Editor

There’s a reason why the Latin name for chocolate, Theobroma Cacao, means “food for the gods.” It is everyone’s go-to sweet treat and a household family favorite. Here are some benefits to indulging in whatever type of chocolate you prefer. 

Studies have shown that chocolate improves the visual information processing center the brain and can increase attention span, resulting in less mental fatigue and better cognitive performance. In the study linked above, participants were asked to count down by 3s or 7s, and those who had consumed cocoa-flavored drinks prior to the trial had faster reaction times and better focus/concentration on the task. 

  • Chocolate Can Improve Heart Health

Consuming chocolate in moderate amounts stimulates the production of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which is the body’s “healthy cholesterol” because it helps remove the body’s “bad cholesterol,” or LDL cholesterol. Polyphenols in cacao increase the amount of HDL cholesterol in the body which helps decrease the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. Chocolate can also reduce heart attack risk. According to Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D., M.S., Wellness Manager for Cleveland Clinic’s Lifestyle 180 program, “cocoa contains naturally occurring plant substances called flavonoids that help keep platelets less sticky, decreasing your risk for heart attack or stroke from a clot.”

  • Chocolate Can Improve Skin Complexion

Chocolate is stress’ number one enemy. Cocoa contains ingredients that increase the production of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters which help reduce stress. This means less collagen breakdown in the skin and fewer wrinkles due to negative stress hormones. Flavonols, an ingredient found in cacao, are antioxidants that help your skin protect itself from UV rays which can damage skin cells and create sun spots. Multiple studies have also shown that chocolate can improve skin hydration and thickness.