Dark chocolate consumption has a positive effect on health
Chocolate tastes good, but regular consumption also means that we gain weight quickly. Researchers have now discovered that chocolate can also be good for your health. Certain types of dark chocolate have positive effects on stress, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity.
In their current study, scientists at Loma Linda University found that dark chocolate with a high concentration of cocoa can prevent stress and inflammation. The doctors published the results of their study at this year's Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego.
Benefits of chocolate with a lot of cocoa
Many people like to eat chocolate. Unfortunately, chocolate usually also contains a lot of sugar and regular consumption can lead to weight gain and harm to health. Apparently there is also healthy chocolate. In their study, the researchers found that eating dark chocolate with a high cocoa concentration (at least 70% cocoa, 30% raw cane sugar) had positive effects on stress, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity.
Cocoa is a major source of flavonoids
Although cocoa is known to be a major source of flavonoids, it is the first time that the effect has been studied in human subjects to determine how this effect supports cognitive, endocrine, and cardiovascular health, explains study author Dr. Lee S. Berk of Loma Linda University in a press release.
Does chocolate make you happy?
For years, the influence of dark chocolate on neurological functions has been considered from the point of view of sugar content. The more sugar there is, the happier the consumers, according to the results of these studies, according to Dr. Berk. Now, for the first time, the effects of large quantities of cocoa in small quantities of chocolate (chocolate bars) on humans have been examined over short and long periods of time. The results showed that the higher the cocoa concentration, the more positive the influence on cognition, memory, mood, immunity and other positive effects.
Flavonoids in cocoa are extremely powerful antioxidants
The flavonoids found in cocoa are extremely powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, with known mechanisms that are beneficial to brain and cardiovascular health, the scientists say.
Cocoa affects the signaling pathways
This experimental pilot test examined the influence of chocolate with 70 percent cocoa content on the gene expression of human immune cells and dendritic cells with a focus on pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. The study results show that cocoa consumption upregulates several intracellular signaling pathways that are involved in the activation of T cells, the cellular immune response, and certain genes that affect neuronal signaling and sensory perception.
Brain and health benefit from dark chocolate
In this study, the response of the electroencephalogram to 48 g of dark chocolate (70% cocoa) was measured after a short period (30 min) and after a longer period (120 min) using the modulation of the brain frequencies. The results show that chocolate with 70 percent cocoa improves neuroplasticity (self-adaptation of the brain) for health-promoting behavior, the scientists report. Brain performance also benefits from consumption.
More studies are needed
Further studies are now needed, specifically to determine the importance of these effects for immune cells and the brain in larger study populations. Such investigations are already underway to elucidate the mechanisms which, at this high cocoa concentration, lead to a cause-effect relationship between chocolate consumption and the brain or behavior. (as)