|Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor|
More and more studies are showing that chocolate eaten in moderation may have significant health benefits. Most recently, researchers have found that antioxidants in chocolate known as flavanols may improve mood. Contrary to previous research, however, there were no noted improvements in cognition.
Participants in the study included 72 healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 65. Over the course of three days, they consumed daily a 1 oz. dark chocolate drink mix dissolved in 7 oz. of water containing either 500 mg of cocoa flavanols, 250 mg of cocoa flavanols, or no cocoa flavanols.
At the conclusion of the study, the 500 mg group self-reported higher levels of calmness and contentedness when compared with the other two groups. They did not, however, have any changes in cognition.
Researchers from the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia conducted the study. It was published in the May 2013 issue of the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Chocolate isn’t just good for improving your mood. It has also been shown to improve heart health and insulin resistance, and reduce blood pressure. To get the full health benefits of chocolate, consume darker chocolates which contain more flavanols.
It’s important to keep in mind that excessive consumption of chocolate could negate the positive effects seen here and in other studies, as chocolate also has high fat, sugar, and calorie content. Your best bet is to eat small amounts of dark chocolate with high cocoa content.