New research revealed health benefits of dark chocolate consumption that is rich in cacao for prevention of aging and disease
Researchers from California’s Loma Linda University claimed to be the first to look at the immediate health benefits of highly concentrated cacao when consumed in typical amounts. New studies highlights on how particular concentrations of cacao can boost cognitive function along with endocrine and cardiovascular health, finding that the darker the chocolate the better the results.
“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 Lee S. Berk, researcher in psychoneuroimmunology and food science at Loma Linda University and principal investigator. As a part of the study, five subjects were recommended to avoid all other high-antioxidant foods for 48 hours. They were then fed 48 grams of dark chocolate heavy in cacao with 70 percent concentration – daily over a period of eight days. To examine the effects of dark chocolate, immune response and gene expression of participants were analyzed through blood samples and total RNA assays both in the hours following and one week later with monitoring pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
It was observed that T cell activation was elevated and cellular immune response and stimulation of genes was found to be associated with neural signaling and sensory perception, which are in turn linked with hyperplasticity – a state where the brain is believed to be more receptive to muscle memory and learning new skills. Furthermore, the team is working on studies involving larger groups of participants to learn more about how the high concentrations of cacao play into brain-behavior. The study was published in the FASEB Journal in April 2018.