Consumption of dark chocolate reduces stress and inflammation, according to a study conducted on April 24, 2018.
The results of two studies, which shows that consumption of dark chocolate with high concentration of cacao has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory, and immunity, was presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego. Although it was known that cacao is a rich source of flavonoids, the effect of these in human subjects have been studied for the first time. Therefore, this study helps in determining the positive effects of consuming dark chocolate on cognitive, endocrine, and cardiovascular health.
Lee S. Berk, principal investigator on both studies said, “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.” He further said that this study is the first of its kind that focusses 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.
Cacao contains flavonoids that are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. The experimental trials showed that cacao consumption up-regulates multiple intracellular signaling pathways involved in T-cell activation, cellular immune response, and genes involved in neural signaling and sensory perception.
The electroencephalography (EEG) response to the consumption of 48g of dark chocolate (70% cacao) after an acute period of 30 minutes and after a chronic period of 120 minutes, on modulating brain frequencies 0-40Hz, specifically beneficial gamma frequency (25-40Hz) was assessed in this study. According to the researchers, further research is required to determine the significance of these effects for immune cells and the brain in larger study populations.