Eating Moderate Amounts of Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Health
Now for perhaps the best news you will find in any of our The Art of Great Leadership blog posts, especially if you are a chocolate lover.
Science has confirmed what some of us knew – and many of us hoped – all along: dark chocolate can reduce stress!
Chocolate can also reduce inflammation and improve one’s mood (I think we all knew the latter, but it is nice to have it scientifically confirmed). Of course, these results also come with the caveat that chocolate should be consumed in moderation since its sugar content and high-calorie levels can impact the risks for both obesity and diabetes.
Researchers from Loma Linda University had participants eat one dark chocolate bar containing at least 70% cacao and then examined their brain waves. Gamma waves in the brains of participants showed increased activity only 30 minutes after the chocolate bars were consumed. Gamma waves signal that the nerves within the brain are working, leading to optimum learning and memory. Based on these results, it may be advisable to bring some dark chocolate to the next training program you attend.
It has been well known for many years that cacao is a major source of flavonoids, the extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents beneficial for brain and cardiovascular health. In the two studies conducted by Loma Linda University researchers, this was the first scientific proof that flavonoids also have a positive impact on cognitive memory, mood, immunity, and other beneficial effects.
In another study, researchers at Columbia University and New York University gave a large daily dose of flavanols extracted from cocoa powder to a group of participants. During the trial period the participants reported improved memory and tests showed enhanced blood flow to the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory formation.
Eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate on a regular basis has also been scientifically linked to reducing blood pressure, lowering inflammation, improving sensitivity to insulin (and thus reducing the risk for Type-2 diabetes), suppressing appetite, better protection against UV radiation in sunlight, eliminating low-density cholesterol (the bad cholesterol in blood), boosting mood by stimulating the production of serotonin, and reducing stress and anxiety during pregnancy.
Perhaps one day researchers will prove that eating chocolate will improve our memories to eat more chocolate! In moderation, of course.