If you’ve been binging on chocolates, no need to stop now. For long, multiple studies have confirmed beyond doubt that the dark variety of chocolates are among the superfoods you must include in your daily diet. Whether you are trying to lose weight or want to stay fit, make chocolates your best friend. Now, according to a new study, they have bigger health benefits: Eating dark chocolates can cut down on your stress levels, make you happier, and improve your memory and immunity.
It is the first time the effect of cacao, which is a major source of flavonoids, has been studied in human subjects to show how it can help in cognitive, endocrine and cardiovascular health.
“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,” said Lee S Berk, from Loma Linda University in the US.
“This is the first time that we have looked at 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, and are encouraged by the findings,” said Berk.
Berk was the main investigator in two new research studies which illustrate that the higher the concentration of cacao, the higher is the positive impact on cognition, memory, immunity, mood and other positive effects.
The flavonoids found in cacao are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, with known mechanisms beneficial for brain and cardiovascular health.
But how much dark chocolate do you need to have?
“You should take 1 or 2 pieces of dark chocolate in a day for better results and make sure that the chocolate should be 70% -90% dark. It works as a mood booster and gives a kick start before exercises also. Due to its antioxidants content it helps in better performance.Dark chocolate has many health benefits and it is also good for the overall cholesterol and cancer prevention also protects us from disease-causing free radicals,” says Anuj Vats, Nutritionist, Shvas the Body Architecture, Delhi.
One of the studies looked into the impact of 70 % cacao chocolate consumption on human immune and dendritic cell gene expression, focussing on pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
Berk said more investigation would be done in the studies, so that they could find out the significance of these effects for immune cells and the brain in bigger study populations.