Chocolate is particularly rich in iron. A 1 oz serving contains about 3.4 mg of iron, or 19% of the daily required dose. But, only dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa solids contains high amounts of iron. Other types, such as milk or white chocolate, contain only traces of iron.
Health benefits of iron
Iron is an essential trace element. It’s necessary for good health.
First, it’s a key component of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein of red blood cells that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.
Furthermore, iron supports muscle metabolism and healthy connective tissue. Also, iron is crucial for energy metabolism, cellular functioning, physical growth, neurological development, and synthesis of some hormones, amino acids, and collagen.[1,2]
But, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide! In fact, iron deficiency may cause side effects like gastrointestinal disturbances, impaired cognition, weakened immune function, fatigue, and low body temperature. Moreover, iron deficiency during pregnancy increases the risk of premature delivery, and miscarriage.
How much iron do we need a day?
Women need to get at least of 18 mg of iron a day, while men need only 8 mg. Women require much higher doses due to menstruation period. In contrast, women older than 51 years require only 8 mg of iron a day.
Moreover, pregnant women require 27 mg of iron a day!
As women need high doses of iron, it may be tricky to get the required dose from food. In many cases, women may benefit from taking iron supplements. You can find a wide variety of iron supplements on Amazon. Click here.
Certainly, you should always consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplement. In fact, getting high doses of iron for a long time may cause adverse effects.
Is chocolate rich in iron?
Dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa solids is particularly rich in iron. It contains about 12 mg of iron per 100g, or 67% of the DV (Daily Value).
You don’t have to eat a whole chocolate bar, though. Just a small 1 oz serving (28 grams) contains about 3.4 mg of iron, or 19% DV!
Actually, eating a small piece of dark chocolate a day is good for you. Chocolate is packed with nutrients and health-promoting antioxidants. It’s among the richest foods in antioxidants!
What chocolate has the most iron?
Only dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa solids is rich in iron, though. For instance, dark chocolate with 60-69% cocoa solids contains only half the amount. Other types of chocolate contain even less iron.
A 1 oz serving of milk chocolate contains about 0.05 mg of iron, or 0.25% DV. White chocolate contains also negligible amounts of iron with 0.07 mg per serving, or less than 0.4% DV.
Thus, 85% dark chocolate is the healthiest chocolate type. Only this chocolate is good for you, due to the superior nutritional value of cocoa solids. Other types of chocolate contain far less cocoa solids. They contain much more sugar, sweeteners, and milk.
Does chocolate affect iron levels?
Chocolate contains compounds, known as oxalates, which bind to iron, inhibiting its absorption. On the other hand, dark chocolate is pretty rich in iron. Hence, chocolate is considered a great dietary source of moderately bioavailable iron.[6,7]
Despite the presence of these “anti-nutrients”, chocolate significantly contributes to the daily consumption of iron.
The richest food in oxalates is spinach, with 1,236 mg per 100g, though. Chocolate is considered to have moderate amounts of oxalates.
People with a history of kidney stones should avoid consuming foods high in oxalates regularly. But, as spinach is one of the healthiest foods, you should eat it occasionally.
Is it OK to eat dark chocolate every day?
Healthy people can eat a 1 oz serving of dark chocolate every day. Reasonable amounts of dark chocolate, as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet, won’t make you gain weight.
What is the best time of the day to eat dark chocolate?
The best time to eat dark chocolate as a healthy snack is in the afternoon after a meal. The desire for sweet and salty snacks gradually increases as the day goes by. A small serving of chocolate could satisfy your sweet tooth and decrease cravings.
In fact, consuming a small serving of dark chocolate a day could help you lose weight.
Other foods high in iron
White beans with 44% DV (Daily Value) per serving, lentils (17% DV), spinach (17%), tofu (17% DV) kidney beans (11%), chickpeas (11% DV), and potatoes (11% DV) are only a few common foods particularly rich in iron!
Moreover, the easiest way to boost your daily iron intake is by drinking certain fruit juices!