If you need more reasons to eat dark chocolate, then you’ll be pleased with this new research from Loma Linda University in California. Two new studies show that high-quality dark chocolate has positive effects on stress, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity.
Research into Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Scientists from Loma Linda University studied human subjects to determine how cacao can support cognitive, endocrine and cardiovascular health. Cacao is the major ingredient in dark chocolate.
Lee S. Berk, DrPH, associate dean and a researcher in psychoneuroimmunology and food science from Loma Linda University, served as principal investigator on the most recent studies. Berk stated:
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.
In their published results, the researchers specified that you can reap the most benefits of dark chocolate by consuming products with high cacao concentration. This means a minimum of 70 percent cacao content and 30 percent or less of organic cane sugar.
Properties of the Cacao Plant
Most high-quality dark chocolate bars contain cacao powder, which comes from the cacao plant. Producers make this powder by pressing cacao beans. This process separates the bean’s oils and solids.
Producers of cacao powder process the beans at very low temperatures, which helps the powder retain the beans’ nutrients. These nutrients include iron, magnesium, fiber and antioxidants.
Many identify cacao as a major source of flavonoids. These substances are responsible for benefits such as decreasing inflammation, which is linked to better overall health. In addition, dark chocolate is ideal food for the brain because consuming flavonoids enhances cognitive abilities and improves memory.
Furthermore, cacao’s magnesium content helps the body produce more energy. Finally, iron is responsible for supporting optimal blood health.
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