This is due to the high concentration of cocoa – a major source of flavonoids.
The flavonoids found in cocoa are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, with known mechanisms that are beneficial to brain and cardiovascular health, researchers said.
"For years, we have looked at the influence of dark chocolate on neurological functions from the sugar content point of view – the more sugar, the happier we are," said Lead Researcher Lee S. Berk of Loma Linda University in California, USA.
"This is the first time we have seen the effects of large amounts of cocoa in cans that are as small as a chocolate bar of normal size in humans over short or long periods, and are encouraged by the results." Berk added.
It has also been found that dark chocolate affects human gene expression. It regulates cellular immune response, neural signaling and sensory perception.
The consumption of cocoa regulates several intracellular signaling pathways involved in the activation of T cells, the cellular immune response, and genes involved in neural signaling and sensory perception. The latter may be linked to the phenomena of hyperplasticity of the brain.
"These studies show us that the higher the cocoa concentration, the more positive the impact on cognition, memory, mood, immunity, and other positive effects," noted Berk.
The results were presented at the 201
For the study, the team first examined the impact of large amounts of cocoa in cans as small as a chocolate bar of normal size in humans for short or long periods of time.
The team evaluated the response of the electroencephalogram (EEG) to the consumption of 48 g of dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa) after an acute period (30 minutes) and after a chronic period (120 minutes) to modulating brain frequencies 0-40Hz , especially advantageous gamma frequency (25-40Hz).
Berk said that the studies require further study, particularly to determine the significance of these effects for immune cells and the brain in larger study populations.