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    It’s official… chocolate is the key to your happiness

    Good news if you’ve some Easter eggs left over. Eating dark chocolate with a high concentration of cacao can improve stress levels, mood and even memory, researchers found.
    A team from Loma Linda University in California, US, found benefits began after eating just half a standard-sized bar of 70 per cent cacao chocolate.
    One study, presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego, linked consumption of the chocolate with improved response in the immune system.
    Another scanned the brains of five people who had eaten 48g of the chocolate after 30 minutes and two hours.
    They found changes usually seen when someone enters a meditative state, and increased activity in fast, high-frequency waves thought to improve memory.
    Dr Lee Berk, who led the research, said: “For years, we have looked at the influence of dark chocolate on neurological functions from the standpoint of sugar content — the more sugar, the happier we are.
    “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 or long periods of time, and are encouraged by the findings. These studies show us that the higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on cognition, memory, mood, immunity and other beneficial effects.”
    The benefits are thought to come from flavonoids in the cacao, a type of anti-oxidant also found in fruit and vegetables including blackcurrants, grapes and aubergines, as well as red wine.
    Previous studies have found diets high in flavonoids may decrease men’s chances of developing erectile dysfunction, and improve blood pressure. The compounds have also been linked to reduced risk of conditions including diabetes and heart disease.

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