Fibromyalgia and Dark Chocolate: These Facts May Surprise You

Fibromyalgia and Dark Chocolate: These Facts May Surprise You

Through the Fog
I don’t know about you, but if someone told me that chocolate would help my fibromyalgia symptoms, I’d be all over that. This was recently brought to my attention, so naturally, I had to do some research. Turns out that a good quality dark chocolate, indeed, can help. But before you run out to get some, let’s take a look at some facts.

Did you know that dark chocolate helps to improve blood pressure and blood flow? Because it improves blood flow to the brain, it can improve memory and mental clarity. It contains powerful antioxidants that help with the negative effects of free radicals. Dark chocolate also has been shown to have high levels of some of the minerals that those of us with FM need, such as magnesium, potassium, manganese, and selenium.

Dark chocolate has less sugar and healthier fats. It contains cacao rather than cocoa. The difference between the two is that cacao is minimally processed chocolate, while cocoa is chocolate that’s been heated and chemically processed. I’m sure you can guess which is healthier. The polyphenols in dark chocolate can actually contribute to a healthier gut. It can improve intestinal inflammation as well as reducing food cravings.

Because dark chocolate is more bitter than milk chocolate, you definitely won’t eat too much of it. Usually an ounce or so will do the trick. It’s one thing that can help to improve FM health. The sugar and dairy in milk chocolate can actually exacerbate our symptoms and create more inflammation.

Dark chocolate is definitely an acquired taste, but well worth it. You can start at 60% and work your way up to 90% dark chocolate. I enjoy dried fruit or nuts in my dark chocolate bars. Like anything we try to change in our fibromyalgia journey, baby steps will get us there. Making changes that are initially drastic don’t usually stick.

If you want a list of some healthy and some not-so-healthy dark chocolate, check out Healthy Eater. One of my personal favorites is Endangered Species dark chocolate bar with cranberries and almonds. You can even try adding some cacao to your smoothie.

What are your thoughts? Are you surprised? Have you tried dark chocolate? If so, do you have a favorite?

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Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

17 comments

  1. Em says:

    Since I do not eat refined sugar I do eat 1 sq. of unsweetened high quality baking dark chocolate. Definitely a sweet treat!!!

  2. Wendy says:

    Hi Robin, Thanks for this article! My favorite dark chocolate is Lindt brand 90%. By comparison, it makes Hershey’s Special Dark seem way too sugary. Too bad we can’t bathe in it! ☺ I wonder if using cocoa butter as a moisturizer is therapeutically beneficial for fibromyalgia.

  3. StevefromMA says:

    I eat a lot of dark chocolate, like most foods it does not affect my fibro either way. I was off sugar and gluten for two tough weeks, still had bad fibro.

    • Em says:

      Takes longer than 2 wks to detox from sugar. Not being critical and as Robin has oft stated we are not all the same. the toughest thing for me was peppers-anything in the Nightshade family!!!! Drat, drat this cannot be!!!! Anything but peppers…sugar, red meat, gluten were easy-Not Peppers!!! Okay, better than the aftermath…that is just plain cruel!!!!

  4. Dianne Wilber says:

    I was definitely surprised that so many good minerals are in dark chocolate ! All the ways it can help us is wonderful !Can`t wait to buy some .

    • Em says:

      Hey Julie I cannot find any cacoa w/ sea salt-I like 100% cacoa-in moderation y’all!!! Where did you find one w/ sea salt and is it unsweetened? I found some, but w/ sugar added.
      Thanks 🙂

      • Julie says:

        Hi Em, the 70% does have cane sugar in it. If your looking for one with not any sugar it would probably be the 100% or the one’s that have stevia in them. That’s just what I prefer and it doesn’t seem to bother me. I also find it at my local grocery store Kroger. Hopefully you find one that you like!
        ?

  5. Kenneth Pate says:

    I have found dark chocolate to be my best source of energy for my chronic fatigue. I am fit, which has been a struggle to maintain. Lindt 90% is my favorite, as it has the least sugar. As the percentage of cacao decreases, the amount of added sugar will increase. I will consume 2 squares before going to the gym, or when feeling especially fatigued. I recently read about a study where test subject’s exercise performance was improved after eating dark chocolate. If you want to avoid all sugar and get 100% cacao, try the hershey’s 100% cacao powdered chocolate. I add it to my morning decaf coffee, and sometimes just put a scoop under my tongue. A little messy though.

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