Amazing, how a once vilified food is now considered a superfood. But, as with virtually all aspects of nature, our knowledge about food and nutrition keeps evolving. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is not just good for your body, but for your brain (and mood).
Recent studies show that moderate consumption of dark chocolate could help boost brain function, improve mood, and strengthen immune system. Watch this video:
In one study, scientists enrolled five healthy (lucky if you like) participants, who were each allowed to eat 48 grams of chocolate for several days. 48 grams is equivalent to one small chocolate bar. Brain activity was measured by electroencephalogram (EEG) before chocolate consumption and minutes after.
The research team found that eating dark chocolate positively influenced activity in cerebral regions of the brain involved in memory and sensory processing.
In another study, 5 healthy adults aged 25-50 were asked a similar amount of dark chocolate (48 grams), also for several days. This study was done to find out how dark chocolate affected the immune system. Blood samples were taken before and after chocolate consumption, as well as toward the end of the study.
The researchers found that eating dark chocolate influenced increased anti-inflammatory agents and increased infection-fighting cells, meaning that it boosted immunity.
While previous studies have shown that eating chocolate could make you smarter, the new studies suggest that the darker the chocolate the better. High concentrations of cacao appear to be key to the brain, mood, and immune boosting effects. The general recommendation is to go for high quality chocolate with 70 percent cacao.
Hopefully, longer studies involving more participants of various age-groups will be conducted soon. (The above studies were relatively small.) All the same, the researchers opine that the results of these studies are promising. A healthy reason to eat chocolate is always welcome, don’t you think.