IF you want to feel less guilty the next time you indulge in chocolate, then here’s some good news.

A new study shows that eating certain kind of dark chocolate could relieve stress and boost memory power. It also helps to deal with mood fluctuations and immunity. This is due to the high concentration of cacao, which is a major source of flavonoids that are beneficial for brain and cardiovascular health.

“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,” said lead investigator Lee S. Berk, from Loma Linda University in California, US.

“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,” Berk added. “These studies show us that higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on cognition, memory, mood, immunity and other beneficial effects,” Berk noted.

The findings were presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 meeting in San Diego, US.

Here are a few other benefits of consuming cacao.

Helps to deal with mood swings: Consuming cacao has shows to help boost serotonin, which is known as the feel good chemical. The serotonin levels in women drop during PMS, and consuming cacao can help balance mood swings.

Prevent premature ageing: Those who want to look young should definitely include cacao in their diet or skincare regime as this super food is known to protect your cells from oxidation and ageing.

Combat fatigue: A study released in 2007 found that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome experienced significantly less fatigue after eating 45 grams of a special dark chocolate for eight weeks.

Depression and anxiety: Cacao has compounds like anandamide and theobromine, which help with imbalances like depression.

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