Dark chocolate can help reduce stress, improve memory
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Dark chocolate is rich in minerals, especially cocoa in dark chocolate also contains high antioxidants. Researchers have proven that eating dark chocolate can change the frequency of brain waves and bring many benefits in improving memory as well as reducing stress.
1. Dark Chocolate
Quality dark chocolate will have a high cocoa content, and it is indeed a nutritious food. Furthermore, it contains a good amount of soluble fiber and minerals.
A 100g dark chocolate bar with about 70% cocoa content usually contains nutritional ingredients such as: 11 grams of fiber, 67% iron, 58% magnesium, 89% copper, 98% manganese. In addition, it also contains many other minerals including: potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
100 grams of dark chocolate is quite a large amount and it also won't be the best choice to eat every day. Because, along with the nutrients in dark chocolate, there are 600 calories along with a moderate amount of sugar. For that reason, dark chocolate is best consumed in moderation.
In addition, in dark chocolate is very diverse in fatty acids. The fats are mainly saturated and monounsaturated (unsaturated fatty acids with a double bond), along with a small amount of polyunsaturated fats (polyunsaturated fatty acids with double bonds). It also contains stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine, but is unlikely to keep you awake at night because the amount of caffeine in the ingredient is very small compared to coffee.
A rather special feature about dark chocolate is that it contains several compounds with antioxidant properties, such as flavonoids, catechins and polyphenols. These antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with excessive free radical damage to cells and tissues in the body. Oxidative stress contributes to the natural aging process.
Over time, the effects of oxidative stress can also contribute to the development of a variety of diseases, such as: heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, and eye disease .
2. Dark chocolate reduces stress
Recent research shows that eating dark chocolate can reduce stress hormone levels in people who are often stressed. Scientists have found that eating the equivalent of a medium-sized bar of dark chocolate (40 grams) per day for two weeks can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the neurohormonal hormones. lead to stress such as catecholamines in people with high stress levels.
These findings add to some of the recently discovered potential health benefits of dark chocolate. For example, cocoa has been found by scientists to contain a rich group of antioxidants (flavonoids) and provide many health benefits.
The process of reducing stress from dark chocolate is described in detail in a study by scientists at the Nestle research center in Lausanne, Switzerland :
In this study, the scientists looked at the effects of intake of approximately 40 grams of dark chocolate daily for two weeks on measures of blood and urine stress in 30 healthy adults. The process of eating is divided into two times a day. Half of the dark chocolate will be eaten mid-morning and the other half mid-afternoon.
The study will collect and analyze blood and urine samples before the start and end of the study to determine the participants' anxiety levels before and after the study. The analysis period for these samples lasted for two weeks.
Results showed that eating dark chocolate daily reduced stress hormone levels in people with high anxiety levels.
The researchers also said that dark chocolate appeared to have beneficial effects on the metabolism and the activity of bacteria in the intestines of this study participants.
3. Dark chocolate improves memory
Recent research by a team of scientists from Loma Linda University of Health presented at the 2018 Experimental Biology annual meeting has shed more light on the benefits of dark chocolate in relation to its effects on brain waves as well as memory and recall.
Lee Berk, associate professor of research at the Allied School of Health at Loma Linda University Health, along with his colleagues used 48g dark chocolate made from 70% cocoa beans from Tanzania.
Research results have shown that consuming antioxidants has the ability to change brain frequency – a beneficial brain frequency known as gamma. The gamma frequency is up-regulated, enhanced and turned on thanks to the antioxidants found in dark chocolate.
Because brain waves have different frequencies. It's almost like a radio station. And when the gamma frequency is highest, it is associated with the highest levels for cognitive processing, memorization, and recall. This also shows that gamma waves deal with complex functions such as processing information, improving memory and reducing stress.
Scientists have shown that the positive or neuroplastic effects of eating dark chocolate can occur on the brain within about half an hour. This study found that after study participants ate a bar of dark chocolate with 70% cocoa, 30 minutes later, gamma frequencies in key areas of the brain increased enormously. Those are areas like the back of the brain and the right side of the brain.
An increase in brainwave frequency persists in the brain for several hours after eating. In fact, the researchers continued to monitor and observe the subject after two hours, the results showed that although this frequency decreased, it still persisted for quite a while.
In addition, this study can also be applied to improve cognitive function, especially in elderly subjects. It suggests that there is a possibility that one of the benefits of dark chocolate is to fine-tune cognitive processes as they corrode. Because, as we age, we may lose our ability to optimally think cognitively, process information, retain information, and recall information. If the gamma frequency is enhanced, it can greatly improve the functioning and working of the brain.
4. Balanced diet with dark chocolate
Recent research shows that dark chocolate has a lot of potential in clinical applications. Maybe it's because dark chocolate is a food that always seems to be of interest to many people. In other words, people have always had a preference for dark chocolate. Therefore, it will have many health benefits as well as it will bring many practical applications in life.
Moreover, dark chocolate is not only a delicious food product, which is expected by many people, but it also contains substances that protect and maintain the health of the body that are surprising us.
Researchers have made a recommendation in the dark chocolate diet that 20 - 30 grams of dark chocolate should be consumed per day. Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa usually contains less sugar but more fat. More cacao also means more flavonoids, so it's best to choose dark chocolate that includes at least 70% cocoa.
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Articles refer to sources: healthline.com, webmd.com, medicalnewstoday.com