Several studies have validated the fact that dark chocolate contains higher levels of flavonoids, which are a class of antioxidants that can protect our cells from damage and reduce inflammation. In addition to this, two recent studies have shown that eating a small portion of dark chocolate can have positive effects on the human brain.
The two studies presented at Experimental Biology 2018, held in San Diego, CA and due to be published in The FASEB Journal, revealed more facts into the benefits of dark chocolate for everyone.
According to the lead author of both studies, Lee Berk, who is the associate dean of research affairs in the School of Allied Health Professions at Loma Linda in California, dark chocolate which contains 70 percent cacao might have positive effects on the brain and immune system. “We suggest that this super food of 70 percent cacao enhances neuroplasticity for behavioral and brain health benefits”.
To arrive at their findings for the first study, the scientists enlisted five healthy participants, aged 22-40, made them eat 48 grams of dark chocolate each (70 percent cacao and 30 percent organic cane sugar), which is the equivalent to one small chocolate bar.
The report published on Medical News Today noted that before chocolate consumption and around 30 minutes and 120 minutes after, the subjects’ brain activity was measured using electroencephalography, and it was found that eating the dark chocolate led to a beneficial increase in gamma frequency in the cerebral cortical regions of the brain, which the areas involved in memory and sensory are processing.
The second study also involved five healthy adults aged 25–50. They were asked to eat 48 grams of dark chocolate per day for a total of 8 days.
The report stated that “Blood samples were taken from the participants at study baseline. Follow-up blood samples were taken 2 hours after chocolate intake every day, as well as 7 days after baseline”.
It was found that eating dark chocolate led to an increase in the expression of genes involved in the activation of T cells, which are the white blood cells that help us to fight infection and disease.
The researchers also found that dark chocolate intake increased gene expression associated with neural signaling and sensory perception.
The take away from the findings is that, contrary to the widespread misconception that chocolate eating is associated with diabetes and only good for children, it is now established that dark chocolate is made of 70 percent pure cocoa and 30 percent organic cane sugar, which is loaded with antioxidants that is highly beneficial to human health.