Dark chocolate found to reduce stress and inflammation
Looking for a reason to justify eating more chocolate? Then this could be it - but the chocolate needs to be the dark stuff with at least a 70% cacao content
Dark chocolate with a high concentration of cacao (minimally 70% cacao, 30% organic cane sugar) has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity new research has found.
Lead researcher Lee S. Berk, DrPH, from Loma Linda University said: "For years, we have looked at the influence of dark chocolate on neurological functions from the standpoint of sugar content -- the more sugar, the happier we are. "This is the first time that we have looked at the impact of large amounts of cacao in doses as small as a regular-sized chocolate bar in humans over short or long periods of time, and are encouraged by the findings. These studies show us that the higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on cognition, memory, mood, immunity and other beneficial effects."
The flavonoids found in cacao are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, with known mechanisms beneficial for brain and cardiovascular health.
Berk said the studies require further investigation, specifically to determine the significance of these effects for immune cells and the brain, and further research is in progress to elaborate on the mechanisms that may be involved in the cause-and-effect brain-behaviour relationship with cacao at this high concentration.
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