Consuming Dark Chocolate Linked to Stress Reduction and Inflammation

By Meenu Johnkutty ‘21

Figure 1. New research reveals additional benefits to consuming dark chocolate.

There may be new incentive to indulge in your chocolate cravings! Though many studies have explored the benefits of consuming dark chocolate, a recent study at the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center is the first to analyze the benefits of consuming specific quantities of particular types of dark chocolate. The study, led by Dr. Berk, the associate dean of research affairs at the Loma Linda University, was presented at the 2018 Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego.

Researchers conducted EEG recordings among human subjects during acute and chronic phases of the trials. During the acute phases, baseline recordings of electrical activity within the brain were noted prior to the collection of EEG data 30 minutes after the consumption of 48 grams of 70 percent cacao dark chocolate. In the chronic phases, the same recordings were taken two hours post chocolate consumption.

From the results of the acute phases of the trial, the researchers were able to conclude that there were spikes in cortical activity shortly after the consumption of chocolate; conversely, the results of the chronic phases showed only residual cortical activity. To explain these increases, researchers highlighted the role that the flavonoids present in dark chocolate play within the human body. Among flavanoids’ various boons are their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which have significant benefits on mood, memory, cognition, behavior, and memory recall. As one of the first studies to explore the effects of dark chocolate on the human body, this study calls attention to the major health benefits present within dark chocolate. In future studies, the researchers hope to pinpoint the exact mechanisms through which dark chocolate consumption contributes to the aforementioned health benefits.



  1. L. Berk, et. al., Dark chocolate (70% organic cacao) increases acute and chronic EEG power spectral density (μV2) response of gamma frequency (25–40 Hz) for brain health: enhancement of neuroplasticity, neural synchrony, cognitive processing, learning, memory, recall, and mindfulness meditation. The FASEB Journal 32, (2018). doi: 10.1096/fasebj.2018.32.1_supplement.878.10.

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