There is in Loma Linda, California a university, Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center, that is a nonprofit religious corporation (Seventh-day Adventists) that is the umbrella organization for its core and affiliate organizations. They have recently published findings from two new studies that show dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation, while improving memory, immunity and mood.
Findings show that consuming dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cacao (minimally 70 percent cacao, 30 percent organic cane sugar) has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity.
While it is well known that cacao is a major source of flavonoids, this is the first time the effect has been studied in human subjects to determine how it can support cognitive, endocrine and cardiovascular health. For more information and a buyer's guide to dark chocolate you can visit the Healthline.
The head of research at the School of Allied Health Professions pointed out that for years, researchers have looked at the influence of dark chocolate on neurological functions from the standpoint of sugar content, but this researcher looked at the impact of large amounts of cacao in doses as small as a regular-sized chocolate bar.
These studies show that the higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact.
Some natural remedy sources have long made claims for dark chocolate, but now they are being shown right by research at Loma Linda.
Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.
Good quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals. A 3-1/2 ounce bar of dark chocolate with 70-85 percent cocoa contains iron, magnesium, copper, manganese ranging from 58 to 98 percent of the recommended daily require and smaller amounts of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. Of course, 3-1/2 ounces is a pretty good sized bar that comes with 600 calories and moderate amounts of sugar, so eating that much every day is over doing it. By comparison, the extra large Hershey Bar weighs 4-1/4 ounces.
The fatty acid profile is excellent. The fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of polyunsaturates. It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, but is unlikely to keep you awake at night as the amount of caffeine is very small compared to coffee.
Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, even more than blueberries and Acai berries. Some studies reported that dark chocolate can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, but the effects are usually mild and in some cases ineffective.
It also increases HDL and lowers LDL in men with elevated cholesterol and reduces insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
It is plausible that regular consumption of dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Studies show that cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage. Cocoa may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. It also improves verbal fluency. Cocoa also contains stimulants which may be a key reason cocoa can improve brain function in the short term.
So, while there is considerable evidence that consuming dark chocolate in modest amounts is good for you, that does not mean you should be eating it every day because it's still loaded with calories.
Also, most of the stuff on the market is crap; you need organic, dark chocolate with 70 percent or higher cocoa content.
Visit Livingstrong's site to read about the best dark chocolate gars.