Chocolate, the ultimate comfort food; a reliable source of consolation when life has let us down; a mood-enhancer under any circumstance; and good for health when…good for what? Chocolate is good for health? Hah!

Scoff not, ye sceptics, for there are a host of proven medical studies that demonstrate good chocolate, which is to say dark chocolate, with a cocoa percentage of around seventy per cent or more is chocolate that’s really good for you.

And on that uplifting note, here are 7 scientifically established health benefits of good chocolate. 

1. Good for the heart and circulation

Studies prove that dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels – both common causes of artery clogging.

2. Reduces risk of stroke

Researchers in Finland have found that chocolate consumption lowers the risk of suffering a stroke – by 17 per cent average in the group of men they tested.

3. Mineral rich

Dark chocolate is packed with beneficial minerals such as potassium, zinc and selenium, and a 100g bar of dark (70 per cent or more) choc provides 67 per cent of the RDA of iron.

4. Reduces cholesterol

Consumption of cocoa has been shown to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and raise levels of “good” cholesterol, potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.

5. Helps you lose weight

Really. Neuroscientist Will Clower says a small square of good choc melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers the hormones in the brain that say “I’m full”, cutting the amount of food you subsequently consume. Finishing a meal with the same small trigger could reduce subsequent snacking.

6. Good for mothers and babies

A Finnish study found that chocolate reduced stress in expectant mothers, and that the babies of such mothers smiled more often than the offspring of non-chocolate-eating parents.

7. Chocolate is good for the brain

Flavanols are thought to reduce memory loss in older people, and the anti-inflammatory qualities of dark chocolate have been found beneficial in treating brain injuries such as concussion.

To this list of benefits we would like to add that certain kinds of chocolate can be good for the soul: this is chocolate for which the raw materials have been grown with care by farmers who are properly rewarded for their work; then processed by people who take time and care in their work, and finished by attentive and passionate chocolatiers who love what they do.

It will not be mass-produced, and it may not be cheap. But it will be good for you, heart and soul. Welcome to the Cocoacraft world of chocolate that’s good for you for many more reasons than just one.