What a sweet surprise! Yet another exciting fact about dark chocolate is that it’s a source of zinc. And the darker, the better: 60-69 percent cacao varieties contain about 5 percent (0.8 mg) of the recommended daily value per ounce, while 70-85 percent cacao varieties contain about 6 percent (0.9 mg). While dark chocolate may be your favorite source of zinc, remember that it’s not the only one: to keep calories and sugar in check, stick to a one-ounce serving per day.
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving contains 3.3 mg of iron, which is 19% of the RDI (51).
This small serving also provides 25% of the RDI for copper and 16% of the RDI for magnesium.
In addition, it contains prebiotic fiber, which nourishes the friendly bacteria in your gut (52).
A study found that cocoa powder and dark chocolate had more antioxidant activity than powders and juices made from acai berries and blueberries (53).
Studies have also shown that chocolate has beneficial effects on cholesterol and may reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes (54, 55, 56).
However, not all chocolate is created equal. It’s believed that compounds called flavanols are responsible for chocolate’s benefits, and the flavanol content of dark chocolate is much higher than that of milk chocolate (57).
Therefore, it’s best to consume chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa to get the maximum benefits.
Bottom Line: A small serving of dark chocolate contains 19% of the RDI for iron, along with several minerals and prebiotic fiber that promotes gut health.
Iron is Incredibly Important
Iron is an important mineral that must be consumed regularly.
Yet it should be noted that some people need to limit their intake of red meat and other foods high in heme iron.
However, most people are easily able to regulate the amount they absorb from food.
Remember that if you don’t eat meat or fish, you can boost absorption by including a source of vitamin C when eating plant sources of iron.