From The ChocolateDoctor Dark Chocolate Consumption Reduces Stress and Inflammation

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press

We have been detailing the benefits of incorporating a limited amount of premium dark chocolate—low in sugar, rich in flavanols and antioxidants—in one’s daily diet. There are over 300 beneficial chemical compounds in chocolate that have a wealth of health benefits according to Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center.

Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. Recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels. These new studies show dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation and now this research represents the first human trials examining the impact of dark chocolate consumption on cognition and other brain functions.

Findings from two studies presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego show that consuming dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cacao (minimally 70% cacao, 30% 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.

Dr. Lee S. Berk, associate dean of research affairs, School of Allied Health Professions and a researcher in psychoneuroimmunology and food science from Loma Linda University, served as principal investigator on both studies.

“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,” Berk said. “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. The following results were presented during the Experimental Biology 2018 meeting:

  • Dark Chocolate (70% Cacao) Effects Human Gene Expression
  • Cacao Regulates Cellular Immune Response, Neural Signaling, and Sensory Perception

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. Study 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 hyper-plasticity.

Dark Chocolate (70% Organic Cacao) Increases Acute and Chronic EEG Power Spectral Density (μv2) Response of Gamma Frequency (25-40Hz) for Brain Health: Enhancement of Neuroplasticity, Neural Synchrony, Cognitive Processing, Learning, Memory, Recall, and Mindfulness Meditation.

This study assessed the electroencephalography (EEG) response to consuming 48 g of dark chocolate (70% cacao) after an acute period of time (30 mins) and after a chronic period of time (120 minutes), on modulating brain frequencies 0-40Hz, specifically beneficial gamma frequency (25-40Hz). Findings show that this superfood of 70 percent cacao enhances neuroplasticity for behavioral and brain health benefits.

Berk said the studies require further investigation, specifically to determine the significance of these effects for immune cells and the brain in larger study populations. 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.

Choclatique Premium Dark Chocolate Highest in Flavanols and Antioxidants

Choclatique Q-91—our super-dark, bittersweet, premium chocolate high in cacao mass. It is a unique and complex blend of 23 different premium beans from Central and South America and Asia. When you let Q-91 melt lightly in your mouth to release the essence of ripe cherry and deep chocolate over complex layers of tart citrus, red fruit and roasted nutty notes held up by a solid, silky chocolate base you are getting the benefits that only come from chocolate. This high cacao content, medium-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the palate with a long, bittersweet finish.

Choclatique Q-91 contains alkaloids such as Theobromine and Phenylethylamine, which are now said to have positive physiological effects on the body, including increased serotonin. Scientists claim that chocolate, eaten in moderation (half to one Choclatique Q-91 bar every day), can lower blood pressure and prevent tooth decay. Dark chocolate has substantial amounts of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals to reduce the effects of aging.

Choclatique Q-91 Features:

  • High in Cacao Mass – 91%
  • Great Tasting
  • Rich in Flavanols and Antioxidants
  • Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free
  • Never Brittle; Never Bitter
  • All Natural. No Preservatives, Artificial Colors or Flavors

One of the most pleasant effects of eating Q-91 chocolate is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging.

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