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Thursday, 26 April 2018

Studies: Dark chocolate can lower stress and inflammation, improve memory

April 25 (UPI) -- Consuming dark chocolate has several benefits to brain function, including reducing stress levels and inflammation, and improving mood, memory and immunity, according to two studies.

Researchers at Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center in Southern California studied how consumption of dark chocolate with a high concentration of cacao -- at least 70 percent, with the rest organic cane sugar -- has positive effects. The two studies were presented Tuesday at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego.

In the past, research has shown that cacao is a major source of flavonoids. Because they are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, flavonoids benefit brain and cardiovascular health, the researchers 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," Dr. Lee S. Berk, associate dean of research affairs at Loma Linda and principal investigator on both studies, said in a press release. "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."

He noted the higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on cognition, memory, mood, immunity and other beneficial effects.

One study was how dark chocolate affects human gene expression, including immune response, neural signaling and sensory perception.

The other study examined how cacao enhances neuroplasticity for behavioral and brain health benefits. They recorded the electroencephalography, or EEG, response to consuming 48 grams of dark chocolate after a 30 minute and two hours. They noted beneficial gamma frequency, as well, during the EEGs.

Beck said additional research in a large study is needed to determine the significance of these effects for immune cells and the brain. They also want to study the cause-and-effect brain-behavior relationship with cacao at a high concentration.

In 2017, researchers reported that consuming moderate amounts of dark chocolate lowered the risk of atrial fibrillation, or AF, a common type of irregular heartbeat. Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and in Denmark studied 55,502 men and women who participated in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Study, which recruited participants from December 1993 to May 1997.

In 2014, research also concluded that dark chocolate helps loosen up stiff arteries and prevents white blood cells from sticking to thickening artery walls -- two primary causes of atherosclerosis. For that study, researchers in The Netherlands monitored 44 middle-aged, overweight men who ate 70 grams of dark chocolate per day over two to four weeks.


Graham

21 comments:

Tom said...

...I need to remember to have some.

Anonymous said...

A square of dark chocolate so enjoyable and good for you too :)

Sami said...

Great news for the chocolate lovers, of which I'm one of them!

Debbie said...

oh isn't that wonderful!!

Carla from The River said...

High Fives to this news! ;-)

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Dark chocolate is always in our pantry. Thanks for the current information. ♥

Jeff said...

This is very good news... Chocolate always makes everything better!

Lorrie said...

It's great to read that something so enjoyable is beneficial to one's health. I have a couple of squares of 75% chocolate almost every day. One after lunch, another after dinner.

Lady Fi said...

YESSSSS! Dark chocolate is my favourite.

Margaret-whiteangel said...

That's good news in all.
So bitter is dark chocolate but then I'm not a chocolate eater.

Valerie-Jael said...

This is very positive! Hugs, Valerie

Phil Slade said...

Oh good. A reason to eat chocolate. I have a packet of Aldi's 70% Dominican from my birthday which I have been saving for a rainy day. Looks like today is the day.

Francisco Manuel Carrajola Oliveira said...

Excelente artigo, gostei.
Um abraço e bom fim-de-semana.

Andarilhar
Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
O prazer dos livros

eileeninmd said...

Hello, This is great news. I love Chocolate! Happy Friday, enjoy your day and weekend!

Anonymous said...

Very helpful info. Thank you and have a blessed weekend.

Conniecrafter said...

We have switched to eating the dark chocolate, one kind we get is 66% and the other is 72%, so I guess we are on the right track, it was a little getting use to after eating milk chocolate my whole life but now it is just the norm and the other taste strange to me.

William Kendall said...

I actually have a preference for milk over dark chocolate.

laurie said...

no one needs to tell me twice lol,, I love dark chocolate!!!!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love dark chocolate

Carol Blackburn said...

Chocolate is surely one of my downfalls, even dark chocolate. Once I have a taste I want to eat the whole bar (and sometimes I just do).

Magic Love Crow said...

Excellent post Graham, thank you!