Vitamin D in chocolate: does chocolate get us through the winter?

Vitamin D in Schokolade: bringt Schokolade uns durch den Winter?
Vitamin D: the sunshine vitamin responsible for healthy and strong bones. All over the world people suffer from vitamin D deficiency . Is chocolate the answer?! We took a closer look at a study by the Martin Luther University in Halle and found out how the important vitamin gets into the cocoa bean and which chocolate is the leader in vitamin D. Oh, and of course whether chocolate is the solution 😉

What is vitamin D and why do we need it?

Behind the term "vitamin D" is a whole group of fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins D2 and D3 are particularly important for our body. Most of what we need is synthesized in our skin with the help of solar radiation. A smaller part should be supplied by food. Foods that contain vitamin D2 primarily include oily sea fish, certain offal, mushrooms and eggs. Doesn't that sound like your diet? That's how it is for most people. Combined with long winters and a decrease in activity in the fresh air, this means that many of us are vitamin D deficient. Such a deficiency can be detected in the blood and, if necessary, compensated for with dietary supplements in consultation with a doctor.
But why is the vitamin so important for us? Vitamin D, for example, allows calcium and phosphate to be absorbed from the intestine and built into the bones. The vitamin is therefore essential for dense and strong bones. Various studies also suggest that vitamin D also actively helps in the prevention of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, chronic diseases and cardiovascular diseases. However, these assumptions have not yet been validated.

Winter Sun Woman Vitamin D Chocolate The sun as a supplier of vitamin D: not always enough in winter ©Unsplash

Vitamin D in chocolate

Fatty fish not your thing? Then we have good news for you: vitamin D can also be found in chocolate!
In 2018, researchers from the Martin Luther University in Halle and the Max Rubner Institute examined the vitamin D content of cocoa beans and cocoa products such as chocolate and chocolate spread. Although the vitamin is normally found almost exclusively in animal products, their search was successful: Chocolate actually contains vitamin D2. The more cocoa and cocoa butter in it, the more. The value is even almost as high as that in oily fish!

product Vitamin D2 content, mg/100g
cocoa butter 2.98
Milk chocolate (at least 25% cocoa content) 1.96
dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa content) 3.96
for comparison: tuna 4.54

(Source: Kühn, Schröter, Hartmann & Stangl, 2018 )

As can be seen from the example values, dark chocolate with plenty of cocoa and cocoa butter has a particularly large amount of vitamin D2. Milk chocolate performs a little worse.
But how does the vitamin get into the cocoa in the first place? The researchers suspect the following: The fermentation naturally adds fungi to the cocoa beans (which is totally harmless and part of the natural process!). The vitamin then forms during the subsequent drying in the sunlight. However, the measured vitamin D2 content of the different products varied greatly. It is assumed that it depends on the fermentation and the duration and intensity of drying.
So is chocolate the solution to vitamin D deficiency? Unfortunately not directly. In the next paragraph we draw our conclusions.

dark chocolate helps best through the winter Chocolate helps through every season ©Unsplash

With chocolate through the winter?

Dark chocolate contains almost as much vitamin D2 as tuna. Even we, as chocolate lovers, have to admit that the comparison isn't entirely fair. Because of course you shouldn't eat five bars of chocolate a day to get through the winter with an excellent supply of vitamin D. The amount of fat and sugar would be anything but healthy.
The research team, led by nutritionist Gabriele Stangl, also emphasizes that the study is not a recommendation for consumption of chocolate. Rather, the goal was to be able to make more precise statements about the diet and nutritional values ​​of our food.
We find: Good to know and always exciting what is hidden in our sweet favorite bars. We are convinced that high-quality chocolate with good ingredients can form part of a varied, vitamin-rich diet. And in winter (and generally always) chocolate is a good idea ... for cozy moments of happiness and pleasure.

Are you looking for really good chocolate? Do we have. Browse our chocolate shop now .

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