"The Delights"

Blog Post #2

December 31, 2017

5 Studies:

Why consuming dark chocolate is good for your health.

1. Reduces Blood Pressure 

Of the 470 elderly men taking part as subjects of the Zutphen Elderly Study, 2/3rds of them regularly an average of cocoa of 2.11 grams per day.   1/3rd  of the studies' subjects did not. 

The subjects' blood pressure was measured at the start of the study, and every 5 years thereafter. 

Within a 15 year period of the study, 152 of the subjects died due to cardiovascular related illnesses. 

Whereas cardiovascular mortality relative risk was 0.53 for for the 1/3rd of men who consumed the least cocoa, the adjusted relative risk for men who consumed the most cocoa, in the highest tertile, was 0.50.

Basically, the men who consumed more cocoa had a lower chance of dying due to heart problems. 

Though a small difference in risk of blood pressure related death, the fact from this study still hold importance!

2.  Great For Your Skin 

In a study of 2 groups of women, half consumed 326 milligrams of cocoa per day while the other half consumed only 27 milligrams of cocoa milligrams per day. The study lasted 12 weeks. 

The women were then exposed to a UV ray induced laser, to replicate the effects of sun exposure. The results where astounding. 

In the group of women who consumed more cocoa, UV-induced damage was decreased by 25% after 12 weeks of their cocoa diet. 

Respectively, there was no change in the damage to the group of women who consumed only 27 milligrams of cocoa per day.

In the cocoa-consuming group of ladies, their consumption led to increased blood flow, increased skin density, and increased skin hydration. Water loss went down, and skin thickness also increased .13 millimeters at the end of the 12 week of study. 

These factors all helped protect them from the UV rays that the sun emits.

3. Can give you a short-term brain boost

Eating chocolate could help to sharpen up the mind and give a short-term boost to cognitive skills.

 These are the results that a University of Nottingham expert has found. 

A study led by Professor Ian Macdonald found that consumption of a cocoa drink rich in flavanols — a key ingredient of dark chocolate — boosts blood flow to key areas of the brain for two to three hours. Increased blood flow to these areas of the brain may help to increase performance in specific tasks and boost general alertness over a short period. 

The findings, unveiled at one of the biggest scientific conferences in America, also suggest that the cocoa flavanols found in chocolate could be useful in enhancing brain function for people fighting fatigue, sleep deprivation. 

Ian Macdonald, professor of metabolic physiology at The University of Nottingham, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect increased activity in specific areas of the brain in individuals who had consumed a single drink of flavanol-rich cocoa. The effect is linked to dilation of cerebral blood vessels, allowing more blood — and therefore more oxygen — to reach key areas of the brain. 

Flavanols are not only found in chocolate with a high cocoa content — they are also present in other substances such as red wine, green tea and blueberries.

4. Chocolate Improves Eye-Sight

In this study it was investigated whether visual function is influenced by a significant dose of cocoa flavanols in young adults. 

The study employed a randomized design in which 30 healthy adults consumed dark chocolate containing 720 mg of cocoa flavanols, in contrast to 30 healthy adults who did not consume dark chocolate. There were one-week intervals between testing sessions. 

Visual strength was assessed by reading numbers that became progressively more similar in luminance to their background.

Motion sensitivity was assessed by measuring the proportion of moving signal dots that could be detected against a background of random motion. 

Result: In contrast to the group who did not consume dark chocolate, those that did had mproved visual contrast sensitivity. The chocolate-consuming group also had a reduced time required to detect motion direction amonst the moving signal dots. 

These acute effects can be explained by increased brain blood flow caused by cocoa flavanols.

5. Chocolate is anti-inflammatory

The results of the following study were unveiled at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society. 

Researchers reported there that certain bacteria in the stomach gobble the chocolate you consume, and ferment it into anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for the heart.

"We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the gut: the ‘good’ ones and the ‘bad’ ones,” explained Maria Moore, an undergraduate student and one of the study’s researchers. “The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate,” she said. “When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory.” 

The two main anti-inflammatory compounds that Maria is referring to are catechin and epicatechin

The team tested three cocoa powders using a model digestive tract that simulated normal digestion. They then subjected the non-digestible materials to anaerobic fermentation using human fecal bacteria. 

The researcher explained that cocoa powder, an ingredient in chocolate, contains these antioxidant compounds catechin and epicatechin. 

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