We know too much chocolate will ruin your supper, but what about your health? That may depend on which type of chocolate you crave. Experts (and dessert lovers) have suggested that dark chocolate, which contains more cocoa and less sugar than lighter varieties, may be a healthier indulgence. But is dark chocolate actually good for you? Here’s what we know.

Dark Chocolate is Rich in Cocoa.

Chocolate gets its signature taste from cocoa, a product of the cacao tree. Cocoa beans are fermented, roasted, and ground into solids, which are combined with other flavors during production. To make dark chocolate, manufacturers combine cocoa solids with cocoa butter and sugar (but never milk). Dark chocolate contains more cocoa than milk or white chocolates – at least 50% cocoa solids – with fewer added sugars and less calories. This makes it a healthier option, but cuts down on sweetness; the taste of dark chocolate can range from bitter to semi-sweet, depending on the sugar content.

Dark Chocolate Contains Powerful Antioxidants.

Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. Antioxidants are molecules that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals—molecules that are formed when our bodies convert food into energy. Free radicals can cause cell damage if their levels become too high in our bodies, but antioxidants help neutralize these molecules and protect us from oxidative stress and its associated risks such as heart disease and cancer.

Dark chocolate is a great source of flavanols, which are powerful antioxidants found naturally in cocoa beans. Flavanols have been linked to a number of health benefits, such as improved circulation and reduced inflammation. Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols, which are plant-based compounds with antioxidant properties. Studies suggest that polyphenols can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Plus, research suggests that compounds found in dark chocolate may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by improving blood flow to your heart and brain–which means lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, and reduced risk of stroke.

Dark Chocolate is a Good Source of Trace Minerals.

In addition to its antioxidant properties, dark chocolate also contains other beneficial nutrients like magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. There’s also evidence that eating dark chocolate helps you stay full longer than milk or white chocolates because it contains more fiber than other types of chocolates do—which may lead to weight loss over time!

Eating moderate amounts may also help improve mood by increasing serotonin levels in your brain—the “happy” neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being. Finally, studies suggest that eating dark chocolate may even help sharpen cognitive skills like memory and focus thanks to its flavonoid content (which acts as a stimulant).

It’s Best in Moderation.

Although there are many benefits associated with dark chocolate consumption, it should still be enjoyed responsibly. The key is moderation—no more than an ounce a day should do the trick! You should also look for products with a high cocoa content; at least 70-80% of cocoa solids will deliver the most health benefits.

Additionally, there are certain types of dark chocolate that are better for you than others; choose organic brands with minimal added sugar or other unhealthy ingredients whenever possible. Lastly, remember that no amount of healthy food can make up for an otherwise poor diet—dark chocolate will only enhance a diet already rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and proteins!