Findings from 2 recent studies show consuming dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cacao has positive effects on stress, mood, memory and warding off diseases.
While it is well known that cacao is a major source of beneficial flavonoid compounds, this is the 1st time the effect has been studied in human subjects to determine how it can support brain, body and heart health.
Dr Lee Berk, a food science expert who lead the study at Loma Linda University in California, 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 1st 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.“
The flavonoids found in cacao are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, with known mechanisms beneficial for brain and cardiovascular health.
The findings were presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in San Diego.
The study assessed the impact of eating 48 grams of dark chocolate with a minimum cacao level of 70% and 30% Organic cane sugar.
Tests of volunteers were conducted 30 mins and 2 hrs after eating the chocolate.
They showed improved brain functions for both times after volunteers ate the dark chocolate.
Dr. Berk said the studies require further investigation, specifically to determine the significance of these effects for immune cells and the brain in larger study populations.
Note: Dark chocolate improved performance on cognitive tests which included the abstract reasoning test, the scanning and tracking test, the working memory test, the visual-spatial memory test, and the organization test.
Snack on 1.5oz of at least 70% Organic dark chocolate daily to give your brain a healthy boost/
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