The Dove chocolate company was founded in Chicago in the 1950s, and has since grown to produce a wide variety of light and dark chocolate treats as well as ice cream and other confections that are sold all over the world. Dove dark chocolate bars contain small amounts of caffeine, as well as nutritionally valuable minerals and antioxidants.
Caffeine is a stimulant that causes increased neuron firing in the brain, according to Brown University's Health Education website. The adrenal system views this increased brain activity as signaling an emergency and releases adrenaline. Dopamine levels also increase after consuming caffeine, making the substance mildly addictive. The 200 to 300 mg of caffeine found in 2 to 4 cups of coffee daily are not harmful to most people, according to MayoClinic.com, but some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Consult with your doctor regarding the potential impact of caffeine from eating chocolate on medications or cardiovascular health conditions.
A standard Dove 1.3 oz. dark chocolate bar contains only 21 mg of caffeine, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture View the Nutrients database. However, dark chocolate, including Dove's bars, also include 174 mg of theobromine per 1.3 oz. serving, an alkaloid very similar to caffeine. Theobromine does not affect the nervous system in the same manner as caffeine, but does affect the heart and smooth muscles. Individuals who experience heart palpitations or suffer from cardiac disease should consult with a physician about the effects of theobromine before consuming chocolate.
A single Dove dark chocolate bar contains an array of trace minerals including calcium, iron, potassium and zinc. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help fight cellular free radical damage that can lead to cancer and heart disease, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The high flavonol content of dark chocolate, eaten in modest amounts of about 30 calories worth per day, may help lower blood pressure, according to the Colorado State University Extension website.
Consuming chocolate can be fatal to dogs, as they lack the digestive enzymes to process the chemical components, including caffeine and theobromine, according to the Colorado State University Extension website. White chocolate lacks the caffeine and theobromine of milk and dark chocolates, but also lacks the beneficial flavonoids and antioxidants. Although white chocolate is a sweet treat, Dove dark chocolate, or any other dark chocolate containing 70 percent or more real cocoa, is a healthier choice.