Whenever you hear that one of your favorite indulgences—like your go-to dessert—might offer impressive, science-backed benefits, you might feel the need to pinch yourself. Well, a recent bit of news that falls into that category isn’t too good to be true: New research just found that dark chocolate not only boosts your mood and reduces stress—which, c’mon, you already knew!—but could also help decrease inflammation and improve your memory. Talk about a superfood.
Research from two studies—which were presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting—indicated that eating dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao offered benefits due to its high levels of flavonoids—AKA extremely “potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.” While it is not news that flavonoids are said to offer health benefits (like increased brainpower and decreased inflammation) and that cacao has a high concentration of flavonoids, this research marks the first time cacao’s effects have been studied in human subjects.
“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.” —Lead study author Lee S. Berk, DrPH
“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,” lead study author Lee S. Berk, doctor of public health, notes in a press release. “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.”
Right now, further research still needs to be done in larger populations, but these preliminary studies provide ample evidence that your nightly dark-chocolate snack is totally justified.
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