Research has confirmed what chocolate fans have known for years: the sweet stuff can make us feel happier.
Two studies from the Loma Linda University in California found consuming chocolate has positive effects on stress levels, and is also linked to beneficial changes to inflammation, mood, memory and immunity.
Sadly for milk choc fans, the findings were only found in dark chocolate products with a minimum of 70% cacao and 30% organic cane sugar.
So if you want an excuse to eat more chocolate, be sure to invest in the good stuff.
While it is well known that cacao is a major source of flavonoids - antioxidents found in foodstuffs - this is the first time the effect has been studied in humans, making it a pretty big deal.
The researchers looked at the impact of consuming 48g of dark chocolate (70% cacao) after 30 mins and after 120 mins, via a series of tests including brain scans.
“For years, we have looked at the influence of dark chocolate on neurological functions from the standpoint of sugar content - the more sugar, the happier we are,” lead researcher Lee S. Berk commented.
“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. 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.”
The research was presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego this week.