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According to Breaking Science News
“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,” Loma Linda University researcher Dr. Lee S. Berk, lead author of both studies.
“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.”
“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.”
The flavonoids found in cacao are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, with known mechanisms beneficial for brain and cardiovascular health.
One of the two new studies examined the impact of 70% cacao chocolate consumption on human immune and dendritic cell gene expression, with focus on pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
The findings show 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 latter potentially associated with the phenomena of brain hyperplasticity.
The second study assessed the electroencephalography response to consuming 48 g of dark chocolate (70% cacao) after an acute period of time (30 min) and after a chronic period of time (120 min), on modulating brain frequencies 0-40 Hz, specifically beneficial gamma frequency (25-40 Hz).
The results show that this superfood of 70% cacao enhances neuroplasticity for behavioral and brain health benefits.
“These studies require further investigation, specifically to determine the significance of these effects for immune cells and the brain in larger study populations,” Dr. Berk said.
“Further research is in progress to elaborate on the mechanisms that may be involved in the cause-and-effect brain-behavior relationship with cacao at this high concentration.”
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