Can Dark Chocolate Actually Help to Boost the Immune System?

Can Dark Chocolate Actually Help To Boost The Immune System

Research has indicated that dark chocolate containing a minimum of 50 to 70% cacao eases stress, improves gut health, and enhances blood flow, all effects that could indirectly strengthen the immune system.

Dark chocolate contains phytonutrients or polyphenols known as flavonoids, which are plant-based compounds that can play a part in disease prevention.

Cocoa powder can contain as much as 50mg of polyphenols a gram, and a single serving contains more phenolic antioxidants than the majority of foods and beverages such as black tea, red wine, and cranberry juice. The primary flavonols within cocoa are catechin and epicatechin, and also procyanidins, providing the majority of antioxidants.

Cocoa is also a rich source of potassium, magnesium, fiber, and arginine, an amino acid that assists with blood vessel dilation.

Flavonoids have been linked to a possible role in cancer prevention, improved heart health, as well as weight loss.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1017/jns.2016.41

Prior research also indicates that dark chocolate could have a positive impact on gut microbiota and help to stabilize blood pressure.2✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1161/01.HYP.0000174990.46027.70
DOI: 10.1021/pr900607v

Inflammation is generally the immune system responding to an irritant. Severe inflammation can trigger reactions in the body resulting in more serious health problems. Researchers explain how oxidative stress can trigger chronic inflammation.4✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1155/2016/7432797

Research shows that the resulting inflammation has been identified as an important factor for the progression of many chronic disorders and diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, eye disorders, and arthritis.5✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1155/2016/5276130

The notion that dark chocolate could help strengthen immunity is based on the evidence that antioxidants provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Polyphenols in particular can inhibit oxidative-stress-activated molecular signaling pathways. Research has indicated that immune function is improved by the consumption of dark chocolate since it’s full of flavonols, which are known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Immunity is highly dependent on blood flow, and the consumption of dark chocolate increases blood flow by improving endothelial function. Antioxidants assist with immunity due to the fact they protect the cells while the immune system fights infections and diseases.

More antioxidants are necessary for defending against inflammatory processes and oxidative stress, both of which are associated with immune function. Although there’s no direct evidence that dark chocolate can help protect against COVID, flu, or the common cold, there may be an indirect association between dark chocolate and this kind of immunity.

Research has revealed that dark chocolate may help in reducing the inflammatory response to a stressor, and cocoa was found to improve chronic sleep disorders brought on by psychophysiological stress through the prevention of circadian rhythm disruption in mice.6✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2016.04.006

Two more studies that looked at the association between dark chocolate and immunity evaluated how dark chocolate with a 70% concentration of cacao and 30% organic cane sugar impacted stress levels, immunity, inflammation, memory, and mood. Study participants consumed significant amounts of cacao over short and long periods. The greater the cacao concentration, the more positive the effect on immunity, mood, memory, and cognition.7✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1096/fasebj.2018.32.1_supplement.755.1
DOI: 10.1096/fasebj.2018.32.1_supplement.878.10

Chocolate is also a rich source of fiber which is important for the health of the microbiome and is essential for balanced immune responses. Research indicates that a healthy gut has a positive effect on immunity in people.9✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2971-8

Can Dark Chocolate Actually Help To Boost The Immune System