Chocolate is a delicious treat that many people indulge in. People eat it for a variety of different reasons. It can be for comfort, a reward or treat, or to simply satisfy a craving. According to new research from Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Centre in Southern California, consuming chocolate can have a positive effect on overall brain health by helping reduce stress levels.
A Tasty Way to Reduce Stress
After analysing two studies, the researchers discovered that eating dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao (usually chocolate over 70%) reduces stress levels and inflammation. They also found that consuming chocolate also improves mood, memory and immunity.
Chocolate is Good All Around
Research regarding the potential advantages of chocolate did exist prior to this new study. There is current knowledge of the benefits of consuming flavonoids, which are “potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents”. The amount of cacao present in a regular sized chocolate contains a high number of flavonoids, which benefit both brain and cardiovascular health.
Over the years, researchers have studied the influence of dark chocolate on brain function from the stand point of sugar. Unsurprisingly, the more sugar people consume, the happier they are and the less stress they feel. The most recent study is different because it is the first time that the impact of large amounts of cacao in small doses over short and long periods of time has been observed. So far, researchers have been encouraged by the results.
Remember to Choose the Right Chocolate
It is important to note that it is only dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao that contains potential health benefits. Milk and white chocolate contain far less cacao and are processed with more sugar. Furthermore, people should not be completely reliant on dark chocolate alone for health benefits. Eating it in moderation as part of a balanced, varied diet is the best thong to do for overall health.