Every now and then, you hear on the news about new advancements in health, or you read a study online that gets you really excited. If you’re a chocolate fan, this might be your piece. Recent studies are indicating that in addition to being delicious, chocolate can actually have a positive effect on your brain.
Is Chocolate A Health Food Now?
Whenever you’re reading health-related articles about foods like wine, coffee, or chocolate, or other foods not typically classified as healthy, it’s important to understand the details of what was included within the research parameters. These recently released studies involved 48 grams of dark chocolate, which is at least 70% cacao. This amount is roughly equivalent to a small chocolate bar. The first study was conducted in single sessions, meaning that participants ate the chocolate in a controlled environment and were analyzed after eating it. The second study was conducted on a longer timeline, with participants eating one serving of chocolate per day for a week. While both of these studies were conducted using formal scientific processes, they were small pilot studies and should be considered preliminary research.
Chocolate And Brain Waves
In the first study, conducted by a team at Loma Linda University, participants were given 48 grams of dark chocolate. Their brain waves were measured afterward, in 30 and 60-minute increments after they finished eating. The EEG showed an increase in gamma waves in multiple areas of the brain. They observed higher numbers in the 30-minute test than in the 60-minute test. This change in activity was observed in the areas of the brain that are connected to cognition and memory.
Chocolate And The Immune Response
In the second study, participants were measured over an 8 day period. They were given the same amount and type of chocolate every day. Researchers observed a positive change in immune response, as well as the genes involved in inflammation. They also observed an increase in expression in neural signaling and sensory perception. A small change was noticed within two hours of eating the chocolate, with the most notable changes observed within one week.
So Should I Grab Some Chocolate?
Since both studies are still considered preliminary research and need to be further investigated with larger study groups, we’re not ready to officially declare chocolate a health food. It’s also important to remember that the quantity and type of chocolate are important, so don’t go pick up a king size milk chocolate bar and expect the same results. As always, the team at The Woman’s Clinic recommends a healthy diet and exercise routine for your best mental and physical health. In addition, we want to see our patients every year for an annual exam, in order for us to keep track of your health and note any important changes. If you are due for an exam soon or are a first-time patient, contact us here to schedule an appointment. And next time you’re in the store, don’t feel quite as much guilt if you want to add some dark chocolate to your grocery cart!