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Eat more Chocolate! The Health Benefits of Chocolate

Eat more Chocolate!  The Health Benefits of Chocolate

Let’s face it: chocolate is a decadent, hard-to-resist treat. Although not all chocolate is created equal, there are many health benefits to chocolate, specifically chocolate products with high percentages of cocoa. Here at Made In Nature, cocoa is a staple in our products. To be more specific, Non-GMO, Organic, Fair-Trade cocoa is the staple that allows us to make supersnacks that are not only delicious, but also packing in nutritional benefits. Still not convinced you need to eat more cocoa? Keep reading – the facts are mighty sweet. 



When you go to the grocery store to pick up some chocolate chips for baking (or to just snack on straight from the bag —no judgment here) —you may have noticed that your options continue to expand. There are many varieties to choose from, ranging from white chocolate to dark chocolate. So, what is the difference between these chocolates? Let’s get into it.

Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate is a fan favorite, and for good reason: it’s soft in texture, sweet to taste, and very versatile. Milk chocolate must contain at least 12% milk (dairy milk or a milk alternative), and must also have a minimum of 10% chocolate liquor (which is a non-alcoholic mixture of cocoa solids and cocoa butters.) Milk chocolate often contains added sugars, making it a sweet treat and a great addition to baking.

Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is similar to milk chocolate in its composition -- minus the milk, of course. It contains at least 15% chocolate liquor, but most dark chocolate actually contains close to 50% chocolate liquor! Dark chocolate also has less added sugars than milk chocolate, meaning it has a more bitter taste, but more health benefits (we’ll dive into that later.)


White Chocolate
Although white chocolate does not contain any of the cocoa solids like its milk and dark counterparts, white chocolate does contain at least 20% cocoa fat (a pale-yellow, edible fat extracted from the cocoa bean.) The rest of its contents are mostly milk fat, milk solids, and added sugars, meaning it lacks the traditional flavors of cocoa. Instead, it takes on a creamy, buttery flavor profile that is a delicious addition to confections.

Baking Chocolate
Chocolate that is specifically used in baking takes on a different flavor than milk, white, and even dark chocolate – it is quite bitter and often has limited added sugars. Baking chocolate, commonly known as “unsweetened chocolate,” is made from ground cocoa nibs. You may see it in the store under the sub names of “bittersweet” and “semisweet.” Bittersweet chocolate, which must contain at least 70% cacao, is best used in cookies, brownies, and any chocolate baked goods. It has no added sugars, so it is just pure cacao! Semisweet chocolate, on the other hand, has at least 60% cacao, and it slightly sweeter than bittersweet chocolate. Semisweet chocolate has some added sugars, making it a great addition to baking, or even just snacking! 


Cocoa has been used for thousands of years for consumption, medicine, and even as a form of currency! Cocoa beans are the seeds of the cacao tree, a tropical plant with origins near the equatorial region. People have been consuming cocoa in food and beverage for thousands of years, but the creation of chocolate as we know it was a later discovery made by the Spanish. They were supposedly the first group of people to obtain the chocolate powder from the cocoa beans, and began adding sugar to it to remove the bitterness. This led to the creation of chocolate beverages, solid chocolate foods, and chocolate coated foods.Fast forward to today, chocolate is just about everywhere. You can find it in cereals, protein bars, and even in milk! This may be because we just love the taste, but there are also many health benefits to adding more cocoa to your diet. As mentioned above, not all chocolate is created equally, and this is referring to taste and nutritional value. Chocolate products containing a higher percentage of cacao, particularly chocolate with at least 70% cacao, are the healthiest. This means dark chocolate is your best bet if you are looking to extract the most nutrients from your sweet treat. Milk chocolate, if it has a higher concentration of cacao, can provide many similar benefits to dark chocolate, but the added milk and sugars can reduce the nutritional value.So, why does the cocoa content make a difference? Well, it’s simple: the higher the percentage of cocoa, the higher the amount of flavanols! Flavanols are a type of plant nutrition that are particularly abundant in cacao beans. Flavanols have shown evidence of lowering blood pressure, fighting cell damage, and increasing blood flow to the heart and the brain. Although some processes of chocolate creation can destroy flavanols (due to fermentation, roasting, and alkalization), dark chocolate still contains a significantly higher amount in comparison to its chocolate counterparts thanks to its minimal processing.Not only do cocoa-based foods, specifically dark chocolate, contain a high amount of flavanols, they also have an abundance of minerals. Iron, magnesium, copper, and zinc are a few of the important minerals you will find in dark chocolate – the benefits of these minerals range from improving sleep quality to supporting a healthy immune system, meaning chocolate makes a great addition to your diet (in moderation, of course.) To top it off, dark chocolate can also boost your mood. Cocoa is high in polyphenols, which are essentially an antioxidant found in plant-foods. These polyphenols work to lower cortisol (aka the stress hormone.) So, next time you’re feeling down in the dumps or stressed out, reach for some dark chocolate!


So you’re aware that cocoa essentially has super powers, now what? Although we would love to get our daily cocoa intake from chocolate bars alone, that is not practical. Here are our favorite ways to bump up our cacao consumption:


Cacao powder (which is a grocery store staple) is a heart-healthy addition to smoothies. We prefer to add cacao to banana-based smoothies, such a strawberry-banana smoothies, to create a chocolatey, creamy smoothie that replicates a dessert. Add in 1 tbsp to your daily smoothie to create an antioxidant powerhouse!

Energy Bites

Making no-bake energy bites, is simple, convenient way to create a poppable, healthy snack for the whole family. This also allows you to control the ingredients that go into your snacks, making it a great way to incorporate more whole-foods and nutrients. Our favorite way to create cocoa-based energy bites is by combing the classic flavors of chocolate and peanut butter. By using a base of rolled oats and adding in natural peanut butter, Made In Nature organic Medjool Dates, and dark cocoa, you can create an iron-rich snack perfect for that mid-afternoon slump.


We saved the best for last. No time to bake or create a smoothie? No problem. Made In Nature’s Fudge Brownie Minis are cocoa-rich, using 55% dark cocoa to make a densely decadent treat. With a base of date and pear, we put nutrition at the forefront when making these brownies. Besides being impossible to resist, our Fudge Brownie Minis are also certified organic, Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Kosher, and made with Fair Trade cocoa. We never use artificial colors or flavors, and definitely no preservatives. With four different flavors, Chocolate Chip, Mocha, Maple Walnut, and Peanut Butter, there is truly a Made In Nature Fudge Brownie Mini for everyone. Looking to add more cocoa to your diet but don’t know where to start? Let our Fudge Brownie Minis be your guide. 

made in nature fudge brownie minis


  • Zaleska. (2022, April 11). The 7 benefits of Dark Chocolate. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved April 26, 2023, from

  • Godman, H. (2015, February 5). Cocoa: A sweet treat for the brain? Harvard Health. Retrieved April 26, 2023, from

  • Caravella, L. (2022, June 23). The divine health benefits of Cocoa. City of Hope. Retrieved April 26, 2023, from

  • Singh, P., & Cook, R. (n.d.). Cocoa - Fermentation. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 26, 2023, from

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