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article imageDark chocolate consumption reduces stress

By Tim Sandle     Apr 29, 2018 in Health
The results of the first human trials examining the influence of dark chocolate consumption on cognition and other brain functions, shows a marked reduction in both stress and markers for inflammation.
The connection between dark chocolate consumption and lower levels of stress and inflammation comes from two studies conducted by researchers from the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center. The studies also suggest that dark chocolate can improve memory, immunity and mood.
By 'dark chocolate' the researchers are referring to high concentration of cacao (minimally 70 percent cacao, 30 percent organic cane sugar) in processed form. Cacao refers to the seed pods from the tree Theobroma cacao. Cacao beans contain phenolic phytochemicals and flavonoids, which can, in theory, protect body cells against damage from free radicals.
The research focus was on the flavonoids found in cacao, which are relatively potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents compared with chemicals found in other food stuffs. The fist study - "Dark Chocolate (70% Cacao) Affects Human Gene Expression: Cacao Regulates Cellular Immune Response, Neural Signaling, and Sensory Perception" - looked at cacao chocolate consumption on human immune and dendritic cell gene expression. This showed beneficial effects related to cellular immune response and genes involved in neural signaling and sensory perception.
The second study - "Dark Chocolate (70% Organic Cacao) Increases Acute and Chronic EEG Power Spectral Density (μv2) Response of Gamma Frequency (25-40Hz) for Brain Health: Enhancement of Neuroplasticity, Neural Synchrony, Cognitive Processing, Learning, Memory, Recall, and Mindfulness Meditation" - demonstrated that 70 percent cacao enhances neuroplasticity for behavioral and brain health benefits.
According to researcher Dr. Lee S. Berk: "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 research findings have been presented to the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting, which took place in San Diego at the end of April 2018. Subsequent studies will look at the on the mechanisms that may be involved in the cause-and-effect brain-behavior relationship with cacao.
More about dark chocolate, Chocolate, Stress, inflammation
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