Stress Awareness Month: Dark chocolates containing cacao can reduce stress, says study
Eating certain types of dark chocolates can have several health benefits, including a reduction in stress levels and inflammation, and improvement in mood, memory and immunity, according to two recent studies presented at the 2018 annual meeting of the Experimental Biology in San Diego, California on April 24, 2018. The studies stand out as they focus on the impact of cacao, and not sugar, on the mental health of an individual.
According to the researchers, small and regulated doses of cacao can greatly benefit one’s cognitive, endocrine and cardiovascular health. A major source of flavonoids, cacao is also present in most fruits and vegetables. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects are beneficial for the immune system and help prevent serious maladies like cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the effects will be
The combined analysis of both the studies revealed that for the benefits to show, an individual should consume dark chocolates that contain at least 70 percent cacao. Interestingly, these studies are one of a kind because the impact of consuming dark chocolate on cognitive functioning as well as other brain functions has been unexplored so far. “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 and long periods of time, and are encouraged by the findings,” said principal investigator of both the studies Lee Berk, the associate dean of research affairs, School of Allied Health Professions. The studies found that the higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on memory, cognition, immunity and mood, said Berk, also a researcher in psychoneuroimmunology and food science at the Loma Linda University.
Such studies can pave the way for further research on the subject and how people can use simple eating habits to avoid stress. Berk too hopes that further investigation can be of great help, especially in terms of determining how consuming dark chocolates impacts immune cells and the brain in larger study populations.
Overcoming stress is possible
To spread awareness about the negative effects of stress on both physical and mental health, and understand the ways of getting rid of stress to lead a happy life, Stress Awareness Month is observed every year in April.
While researchers continue to find the cause-and-effect relationship between the brain and human behavior and consumption of cacao, one must remember that there are other ways also to overcome stress. This is important as chronic stress can lead to debilitating mental disorders like anxiety and depression.
Though occasional stress is natural, as it propels one to plan better and be prepared for the worst, one cannot ignore the fact that when stress levels surpass the threshold of the human mind to tolerate, the resultant impact can be taxing on the afflicted person. In such a situation, it is best to seek professional guidance from a certified mental health practitioner. His/her relevant expertise and experience can help determine the root cause of stress and decide the necessary course of treatment. Usually, a comprehensive treatment program would include therapy, medication and self-care.
If you or a loved one has been experiencing stress and associated issues for a long time, it is time to consult an expert at the Recover Mental Health to know if anxiety disorder treatment is required. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 593-2339 to know more about credible anxiety disorder treatment centers. You can also chat online with our counselors for more information about the best anxiety disorder treatment center in your vicinity.