Benefits of Dark Chocolate for PCOS

Dark chocolate may be your new source of comfort if you have recently been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and struggle to control your sugar cravings.

Several health benefits have been attributed to dark chocolate, including weight loss and the regulation of blood sugar levels. Dark chocolate is particularly beneficial for those suffering from PCOS when consumed in moderation. Around 4-20% of women in the world are affected by PCOS, which is one of the leading causes of infertility in women. 

This therefore highlights the importance of following a diet that supports the needs of women diagnosed with PCOS.

Dark chocolate for PCOS

Nutrients in dark chocolate 

Chocolate is primarily composed of cacao beans, which are the fruit of the Theobroma cacao tree. Cocoa solids (cocoa powder) and cocoa butter are combined with sugar to produce chocolate.2  There are several unsaturated and saturated fatty acids in cocoa butter, while cocoa solids contain a rich mix of minerals and antioxidants, such as the anti-inflammatory agent theobromine. Saturated fatty acids are one of the major proponents of coronary heart disease worldwide, while unsaturated fatty acids, such as those found in coconut oil, have proven to be much healthier than their saturated counterparts.1

The ratio of cocoa liquor and cocoa solids in a bar of chocolate determines how dark the chocolate is.

By definition, dark chocolate contains no less than 35% of cocoa solids, while milk chocolate contains around 10-12% of cocoa solids. White chocolate only contains cocoa butter mixed with dairy products and added sugar, making it the least heart-healthy of the three. 

Because of the high concentration of cocoa, dark chocolate is rich in magnesium, calcium, iron, antioxidants, and dietary fibre, and due to the low concentration of dairy, is particularly beneficial for gluten-free diets as well. All in all, a wonderful addition to a PCOS diet!

Benefits of dark chocolate for PCOS

Better regulation of blood sugar 

PCOS-affected women are more resistant to insulin, the hormone needed to control blood sugar. A higher level of insulin resistance predicts a higher risk of developing diabetes. 

Studies have indicated that the chemicals flavonoids and polyphenols, which are abundant in dark chocolate, can help raise insulin sensitivity and, as a result, reduce blood sugar levels.2  

Magnesium, a mineral that is crucial for the metabolism of glucose, is also abundant in dark chocolate and has a favourable effect on lowering blood sugar levels.1 

Improved heart health 

Due to its high antioxidant content, dark chocolate has been demonstrated to aid in the removal of LDL cholesterol (AKA the ‘bad’ cholesterol) from the blood,1 hence lowering the risk of coronary heart disease.

Reduces high blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the risks seen among women with PCOS, and dark chocolate plays an important role in mitigating that risk. The magnesium present in higher percentages of dark chocolate (70% and above) also helps reduce high blood pressure.1 

High iron content

Dark chocolate is a great source of iron compared to milk and white chocolate,2 which is why it can be incorporated in not just a PCOS diet, but also an anaemic diet to help replenish and maintain the body’s blood reserves.

Helps lower testosterone levels 

Dark chocolate contains a high amount of zinc, which studies have shown to reduce testosterone levels in the body. Women with PCOS have increased levels of testosterone, which dark chocolate can help mitigate.

Improves mood

Ever been in a low mood and instantly reached out for some chocolate? There is a scientific basis for why you seek out comfort food while in a bad mood.

Chocolate has high levels of a compound known as tryptophan, a precursor for serotonin in our bodies. Serotonin is one of the happy chemicals that our brains actively seek out when in a low mood, which is why chocolate helps us feel better. 

Best dark chocolate for PCOS

Cocoa solids, like cocoa powder (one of the main derivatives of the cocoa bean), contain most of the PCOS-friendly compounds found in dark chocolate. 

Ideally, in order to receive all the benefits of these compounds, it is vital to consume dark chocolate composed of more than 70% cocoa solids.

Dark chocolate diet tips for people with PCOS

Women with PCOS are often told that they cannot eat chocolate, but that is far from the truth. 

Consuming 1-2 squares of >70% dark chocolate a day is beneficial in a PCOS diet. 

When consumed with other antioxidant rich foods such as green tea, berries, and kale, the benefits of dark chocolate are enhanced.

It is advisable to consult with a dietitian on how many calories can be consumed to meet your requirements, as everyone’s caloric needs are different. 

Risks and considerations

What are the side effects?

A 2014 study has shown that there are potential harmful side effects on the foetus when dark chocolate is consumed during the third trimester of pregnancy.3 

In a 2014 study, it was shown that the antioxidant effects of dark chocolate could be detrimental to the development of the foetus’s circulation, as they interfere with the foetus’s nitric oxide metabolism.

While eating chocolate in moderation during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy helps improve the mother’s mood, the third trimester is a particularly tricky period where the mother needs to take extra precautions with her diet.

Hence, it is fine to consume dark chocolate in moderation while keeping a close eye on your blood sugar levels, but extra caution should be exercised during the third trimester of pregnancy. Care should also be exercised during all trimesters if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

How much is enough?

While it is anyone’s dream to have unlimited amounts of chocolate every day, unmoderated consumption of chocolate comes with its own risks. 

With a balanced diet and 30 minutes of high intensity exercise for 3 days per week, eating 1-2 squares of >70% dark chocolate is enough to see its benefits.


PCOS should not be considered the end of the road for women who wish to conceive; it is merely a diagnosis to work with, rather than overcome. Millions of women around the world, despite having been diagnosed with PCOS, have conceived successfully.

Dark chocolate is a delicious snack with several health benefits for people with PCOS, including lowering cholesterol, blood sugar, and testosterone. It is proven to elevate your mood, and when enjoyed in moderation, can contribute to a healthy, balanced diet. 

Everyone deserves to eat chocolate, especially women with PCOS! We at Klarity aim to address all your health concerns, so if you, or a loved one have been diagnosed with PCOS and have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.


  1. Katz DL, Doughty K, Ali A. Cocoa and chocolate in human health and disease. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling [Internet]. 2011 Nov 15;15(10):2779–811. Available from:
  2. Grassi D, Lippi C, Necozione S, Desideri G, Ferri C. Short-term administration of dark chocolate is followed by a significant increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in blood pressure in healthy persons. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [Internet]. 2005 Mar;81(3):611–4. Available from:
  3. Zielinsky P, Martignoni FV, Vian I. Deleterious effects of maternal ingestion of cocoa upon fetal ductus arteriosus in late pregnancy. Front Pharmacol. 2014 Dec 22;5. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Nandini Menon

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) - MS Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore, India

Nandini is a Doctor from India with a passion for artificial intelligence, and has an eye for seeking out what shapes the future of healthcare.
She is currently doing her Masters in Clinical Critical Care at the University of Glasgow, Scotland and is the acting Student Representative for her course. She is actively working towards a future in medical writing to help educate the public on the advancements in the healthcare industry.

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