We’ve all heard that cocoa and chocolate are healthy, but a new study also shows that we can reduce stress and even improve our memory by eating dark chocolate. Unfortunately, researchers didn’t take into account the sugar content of the chocolate. They only looked into the concentration of cacao, and the results are quite positive!
Cacao is a great source of flavonoids, which is contained in many fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are antioxidants and have an anti-inflammatory effect on our bodies, also increasing the immune system. Diets rich in flavonoids are used in the prevention of cancer and in neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. And if cacao contains flavonoids, why not consume it?
Science Says We Can Eat Chocolate! – But It Must Have 70% Cocoa…
The great news came at the Experimental Biology 2018 meeting in San Diego, which took place this week. The research was presented by lead researcher Lee S. Berk of the School of Allied Health Professions and Loma Linda University. He stated that their study is focusing on:
“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. We have looked at the influence of dark chocolate on neurological functions from the standpoint of sugar content, the more sugar [there is], the happier we are.”
But it seems that not sugar is the one making us happier, it’s the concentration of cocoa:
“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 first study on the benefits of cocoa to our bodies showed that “multiple intracellular signaling pathways involved in T-cell activation, cellular immune response, and genes involved in neural signaling sensory perception.”
This last study says that chocolate with at least 70% concentration of cocoa is beneficial to the body. This concentration of cocoa will enhance “neuroplasticity for behavioral and brain benefits”.
Quality Over Quantity
So, a regular consumption of 70% or higher percentage of cocoa in chocolate will boost our immune systems, improve our memory and reduce the levels of stress. And we get to eat chocolate!
However, we must also consider the quality of chocolate, suggests chocolatier Jacques Torres:
“Dark chocolate can be good for you, and when I say ‘can,’ it’s about what type of dark chocolates you are eating.”
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.