Chocolate is often considered unhealthy because it usually contains saturated fat and a lot of sugar. But, not all chocolates are the same. One type of chocolate can improve your gut health and positively affect your mood.
Read on to learn more.
Dark Chocolate With 85% Cocoa
A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry investigated whether chocolate affects our mood and gut health.
The authors divided participants into three groups, two of which consumed the same amount of chocolate per day (30 grams) for three weeks. The first group ate dark chocolate with 85% cocoa, the second one ate dark chocolate with 70% cocoa, and the third one didn’t consume it at all.
The scientists measured the participants’ moods using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). This tool is used to track changes in positive and negative emotions.
Results showed that daily consumption of dark chocolate with 85% cocoa reduced negative effects, while chocolate with 70% cocoa had no such effect. The authors then went a step further to establish whether the mood-altering effects can be associated with gut health.
Namely, our gut sends chemical signals to our brains. Negative changes in the gut microbiome can affect our brain and cause numerous issues such as Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, depression, etc. This is why the connection was important to the authors. The results indicated dark chocolate with 85% cocoa contributed to gut microbial diversity due to its prebiotic properties.
We Are What We Eat
Although many aren’t aware, our brains are highly affected by our foods. A diet high in saturated fat, refined carbs, and sugar can jeopardize our cognitive function and increase the risk of neurological diseases. In contrast, a healthy diet keeps our brain in great shape, improves memory, and prevents cognitive decline.