From your teeth to your ticker, dark chocolate has been credited with a range of amazing health benefits.
So much so that by now it would hardly surprise us to see a headline boasting that eating dark chocolate can make you speak French fluently – despite your only lesson being that one time you accidentally watched Amelie with the subtitles off for a bit.
Now two studies have revealed that dark chocolate could also help reduce stress and improve our moods.
“Duh,” we hear you say from your couch with your slippered feet up, nibbling on a square of Lindt.
What makes this research different was that it focused specifically on the cacao content of the chocolate and not the sugar content – which also has a mood-boosting effect.
‘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,’ explains Dr Lee S. Berk, researcher in psychoneuroimmunology and food science from Loma Linda University, and the principal investigator for both studies.
‘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.’
Cacao contains a significantly high level of flavonoids – a rich source of antioxidants. Both studies found that eating 70% cacao chocolate and up had a beneficial effect on brain plasticity – resulting in measurable improvement stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity.
Pair it with a nice red wine and you can probably live forever.
Recovering caffeine-addict and serial bruncher Eliza Murray feels most at home typing away in a cozy cafe with her re-mortgaged avocado toast nearby. When she isn't reporting on the latest Instagram-shattering glittery food trends, she can be found experimenting with new gin garnishes (hello strawberries!) or biting into an entire wheel of brie (no shame). She tweets @theothereliza