Eating dark chocolate is good for you, study claims - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Eating dark chocolate is good for you, study claims

Dark chocolate can give you a boost, and it's not the sugar, a study suggests. (Source: Pixabay) Dark chocolate can give you a boost, and it's not the sugar, a study suggests. (Source: Pixabay)

(RNN) - Chocolate lovers, it turns out that eating your favorite treat can provide a boost for your mood and health, but there's a catch.

Eating chocolate with a high concentration of cacao - at least 70 percent - can help decrease a person's stress levels, as well as boost mood, memory and immunity, according to two studies from Loma Linda University.

The flavonoids found in cacao are powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents, aiding brain and heart health, the studies showed.

One trial examined the impact of chocolate on immune system function, focusing on its anti-inflammatory properties, while the other examined the brain's response to eating the chocolate.

Eating the chocolate increases the response stimulus of "multiple intracellular pathways involved in T-cell activation, cellular immune response and genes involved in neural signaling and sensory perception." In other words, it fortifies the immune system response.

In addition, studying the brains of those who ate the chocolate shows that it boosted the ability to form new neural connections, which can benefit memory, overall health and help fight off diseases associated with aging.

"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," said Lee S. Berk, who served as principal investigator. "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."

Berk said more study on the phenomenon is needed.

Note that you probably won't get the same benefits from getting a chocolate bar out of the vending machine. Most of that stuff is low in cocoa, a powder made of cacao beans.

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