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Dark Chocolate May Increase Gut Diversity and Improve Mood

Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. A recent study has found that consumption of dark chocolate with 85% cocoa content may help increase gut microbial diversity and improve mood.

Forty-eight adults between the ages of 20 and 30 participated in the study. They consumed 1 ounce of dark chocolate with 85% cocoa content, 1 ounce of dark chocolate with 70% cocoa content, or a placebo daily for 3 weeks.

The researchers administered the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule at baseline and at the end of the study period to assess mood. Fecal samples were used to evaluate gut microbial diversity.

Participants in the 85% cocoa group saw significant reductions in negative mood scores. No change was seen in the 70% cocoa group. The 85% cocoa group also saw significant increases in gut microbial diversity compared to the placebo group. Specifically, levels of Blautia obeum were significantly elevated and levels of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii were reduced.

The study was conducted by researchers from Seoul National University. It was published online ahead of print on September 14, 2021 in the The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

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