Dark chocolate is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants remove free radicals which are destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other illnesses. It is the cocoa phenols in the dark chocolate that have been shown to reduce blood pressure. Cocoa beans are good sources of flavonoids, but not all chocolate retains much of the cocoa bean. Flavonoids, a group of chemical compounds with antioxidant properties, are derived from a variety of plants.
Previous clinical studies have shown the beneficial effects of dark chocolate on the function of blood vessel endothelium (the inner lining of blood vessels) after either a single dose or several doses of dark chocolate over a few days.
However, the addition of milk to create milk chocolate or white chocolate may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants thus rendering dark chocolate the ‘healthy option’.