New research suggests that dark chocolate can help reduce stress levels while boosting brain power. Two studies have found that this type of chocolate can have a positive impact on mood, stress levels, immunity, and memory.
Lee s. Berk, who conducted both studies, unveiled the findings Tuesday at the annual meeting of Experimental Biology in San Diego, Calif. However, researchers found that only certain types of chocolate are healthy.
If you want to keep your stress in check while benefiting from a big memory boost, ensure the dark chocolate you consume is at least 70% cacao, the research team suggests. Dark chocolate is believed to be healthier than milk chocolate because of its high cacao content.
- Cacao is rich in powerful antioxidants called flavonoids and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Past studies revealed that these two nutrients can shield the human brain from aging and damage while keeping the cardiovascular system in top shape.
Cocoa Is the Key
Unlike previous studies, the latest two found that sugar content in dark chocolate is not the key to healthier neurobiological functions. It is the mix of cocoa and sugar that makes the difference. What’s more, cocoa concentrations must be high for the many health benefits of the chocolate to kick in.
The higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on cognition, memory, mood, immunity […],
Dr. Berk said.
The first study looked at the impact of chocolate consumption on human gene expression. Researchers found that 70% dark chocolate can beef up the immune system by activating T-cells and the genes behind sensory perception and neural signaling.
The second study revealed that 48 gr of 70% dark chocolate visibly improved the memory and learning capabilities of people consuming it regularly.
Even though dark chocolate has clear health benefits, scientists recommend to consume it in moderation.
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