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 powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents, aiding brain and heart health, the studies showed.
Cacao consumption up-regulates multiple intracellular signalling pathways involved in T-cell activation, cellular immune response and genes involved in neural signalling and sensory perception - the researchers said that the latter was potentially associated with the phenomena of brain hyperplasticity.
The great news came at the Experimental Biology 2018 meeting in San Diego, which took place this week. The study looked at dark chocolate specifically and found that consuming certain types of it, assuming it has enough cacao, can have a positive effect on the consumer's stress levels.
The second study revealed that 48 gr of 70% dark chocolate visibly improved the memory and learning capabilities of people consuming it regularly. The other bar was a crispy rice mix milk chocolate bar with 40 mg of total flavanols.
"If you're looking for a rationalization or justification for eating more chocolate, you're probably going to find it in this study", Dr. Jen Ashton said on Good Morning America. What's more, cocoa concentrations must be high for the many health benefits of the chocolate to kick in.
"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 Dr.
It's the first study conducted in humans that proves chocolate can support cognitive, endocrine and cardiovascular health.
However, the authors noted that further research was needed in larger study populations.
This pilot feasibility experimental trial examined the impact of 70 percent cacao chocolate consumption on human immune and dendritic cell gene expression, with focus on pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Flavonoid diets help in preventing cancer and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. They are packed with MUFA'S (monounsaturated fatty acids) that are known to boost your metabolism and burn fat. The researchers went on to say that even though dark chocolate is loaded with calories, it contains ingredients that may favour weight-loss.