In a clinical trial published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research, Sunil Kochhar and colleagues note growing scientific evidence that antioxidants and other beneficial substances in dark chocolate may not only reduce risk factors for heart disease but that chocolate may ease emotional stress. Until now there was little evidence from research in humans on exactly how chocolate might have those stress-busting effects.
However, in their study, the scientists identified reductions in stress hormones and other stress-related biochemical changes in volunteers who rated themselves as highly stressed and ate dark chocolate for two weeks. The results, they felt, provided evidence that a daily consumption of 40 grams [1.4 ounces] during a period of 2 weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of healthy human volunteers
Courtesy of Medical News Today
A special cocoa made to retain naturally occurring compounds called flavanols may have the potential to help maintain healthy brain function and chart the course for future research that could lead to new solutions for preventing cognitive decline and dementia, according to a panel of scientists who presented new data at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Several studies suggest that consumption of a special cocoa made to be rich in flavanols, a naturally occurring nutrient abundant in fresh cocoa, may improve blood vessel function. Now, Dr Harold Schmitz, chief science officer at Mars, Incorporated speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), believes the potential blood flow benefits associated with consumption of this flavanol-rich cocoa may extend to the brain preventing cognitive decline and dementia.
During the session entitled 'The Neurobiology of Chocolate: A Mind-Altering Experience' Dr Ian Macdonald, from the University of Nottingham Medical School in the UK, described how the acute consumption of this particular flavanol-rich cocoa beverage was associated with increased blood flow to grey matter for 2 to 3 hours. This raises the possibility that certain food components like cocoa flavanols may be beneficial in increasing brain blood flow and enhancing brain function among older adults or for others in situations where they may be cognitively impaired, such as fatigue or sleep deprivation.
Bayard V, Chamorro F, Motta J, Hollenberg NK. Does flavanol intake influence mortality from nitric oxide-dependent processes? Ischemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, and cancer in Panama. International Journal of Medical Sciences. 2007;4:53-58.
Int. J. Med Sci. featured article [2007-2-18] http://www.medsci.org/press/cocoa.html
More research reports on food and mood
First Published in 2010
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