Chocolate has been demonised for its fat content or being associated with acne, dental decay, weight gain and diabetes. There are many contradictory news articles which make it hard to agree on the benefits (or otherwise) of chocolate. Here's some of the facts, based on scientific research:
1) Cacao, the raw ingredient in chocolate, is very high in antioxidants, to reduce aging and oxidative stress - in much higher amounts in dark chocolate!
2) Cacao is an aphrodisiac!
3) Cacao is high in healthy fats, which has a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels
4) Cacao is high in nitrogen compounds (including caffeine) which stimulate the nervous system but relaxes muscles and reduces blood pressure
5) Cacao contains many minerals such as potassium, copper, iron, zinc and magnesium.
However... (!), there are issues with commercial chocolate and it may not be for everyone:
1) chocolate is highly processed, high in added sugar, and other dubious ingredients like wheat, soy, palm oil, and others
2) chocolate can cause heartburn (indigestion or GORD/GERD or reflux)
3) some people can be allergic or intolerant to some ingredients in chocolate, which can cause inflammation to exacerbate existing health conditions
4) the high sugar content of chocolate can lead to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and dental decay
5) many of the beneficial nutrients in the raw cacao are lost in the processing of chocolate.
Based on the above I recommend a low intake of commercially processed chocolate, but a moderate intake of raw cacao can be added to meals to give all the benefits of chocolate without the issues. Add cacao powder to smoothies, porridge, protein balls for snacks, or other healthy recipes!
Have a happy Easter!