The elements of cocoa.
Its higher cocoa content means that dark chocolate contains more minerals such as magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium.
Magnesium plays a key role in ensuring that your heart and circulation function healthily. It is involved in coordination between the muscles and nerve cells, and thus important for your entire nerve system. It contributes to healthy bone development and teeth, is involved in some 300 enzyme reactions and plays an important role in the metabolisms of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as in cell division.
A magnesium deficiency, by contrast, can raise your risk of developing high blood pressure, cardiac disrhythmia and strokes.
Foodstuffs rich in magnesium include nuts, rolled oats, wheat germ, millet, wholegrain bread, sunflower seeds, quinoa and amaranth.
The mineral calcium has a wide range of functions. It is an important element of your bones and teeth, which also act as a storage depot for calcium. It is also involved in muscle contraction, the transmission of impulses in your nervous system and the activation of the blood clotting system.
Calcium is mainly found in milk, dairy products, vegetables, herbs and nuts.
The most important functions of the mineral sodium are regulating your water balance, your pH balance and the osmotic pressure of your cells. It is essential in passing on electrical impulses in your nerves and muscle cells, and in contracting your muscles, including that of your heart.
It mainly occurs in salt deposits, in mountainous regions and in seawater.
Potassium is responsible for maintaining the osmotic pressure in your cells, for cell volume and for regulating your water balance. It is also crucial for the functioning of your muscles and nerves. A lack of potassium is said to raise your risk of developing high blood pressure or suffering a stroke.
Potassium occurs in bananas, milk, mushrooms, tomatoes, apricots, wheat germ, sweet peppers and apples.