We thought food science couldn’t get more awesome when researchers last week revealed a cooking method that halves the calories of rice. But now chemists have shown that by simply changing the way they store and roast cacao beans, they can boost chocolate’s antioxidant content AND make it taste better at the same time. Life = complete.
A team from the University of Ghana and Ghent University in Belgium has discovered that, simply by storing cacao bean pods unopened for seven days before slow roasting them at a lower temperature, they can produce chocolate that’s more flavourful and has a higher percentage of polyphenols, the class of blood vessel supporting antioxidants also found in red wine. A new study has found that eating small amounts of dark chocolate, which is high in an antioxidant called polyphenol, can increase feelings of calmness and contentedness.
“Anecdotally, chocolate is often linked to mood enhancement,” said lead author of the study, Matthew Pase from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. “This clinical trial was perhaps one of the first to scientifically demonstrate the positive effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood.” Pase and his team were looking into the effect of polyphenols on both mood and cognitive function. While there was no increase in cognitive function after the participants enjoyed chocolate for 30 days straight, the researchers did see an improvement in mood.
The research was conducted with 72 healthy men and woman aged between 40 and 65. The participants were given a dark chocolate mix to drink for 30 days with 500 mg, 250 mg, or 0 mg of cocoa polyphenols. Those enjoying 500 mg of polyphenols a day reported an increase in calmness and contentedness throughout the study period.
There are some limitations to the research - firstly, participants had to rate their own mood on 16 different scales to measure how they were feeling before the experiment, and then again after the 30 days of chocolate-eating.

Until tomorrow: Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them.

Dorothy Prats

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