Chocolate...is there anything it can't do? I've said this before, but I love chocolate and I eat it everyday. In fact, I will go so far as to say I need chocolate everyday. In addition to the health benefits dark chocolate provides, it's also an excellent mood enhancer. My husband occasionally suggests to me - as diplomatically as possible - "I think you need some chocolate..." To which I want to reply, "You don't tell me when I need chocolate, I tell you when I need chocolate!" But before I blurt this out, I realize how ridiculous it sounds and then I'm just thankful someone is ordering me to eat chocolate.
But not all chocolate is created equal. To achieve any health benefits at all you must consume chocolate that is 70% cocoa or higher. The greater the cocoa mass, the greater the health benefits. Cocoa beans are bitter and full of an antioxidant called phenol. But when processing begins, most chocolate loses a lot of its antioxidant properties and when processed with milk and sugar (milk chocolate) it can actually negate most of the antioxidant activity. So by sticking to a higher cocoa percentage such as 70%, 85% or even 90%, and keeping the portion size to 1-2 squares a day, you're sure to gain the health benefits without all the added sugar and impurities.