Dark chocolate in moderation reduces inflammation

Dark chocolate contains high concentrations of flavonoids and may have anti-inflammatory properties. An Italian cohort study of 4849 subjects has shown that consuming moderate amounts of dark chocolate can significantly reduce levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP). Investigators related levels of CRP in participants’ blood to their usual chocolate intake. A J-shaped curve was observed between dark-chocolate consumption and CRP concentrations: those who ate up to one serving (20 g) every three days had CRP concentrations significantly lower than those who ate none or those who ate larger amounts. This moderate amount corresponds to a small square of chocolate two or three times a week, beyond these amounts, the beneficial effect tends to disappear. The researchers speculate that if the amount of chocolate is increased by too much, increases in lipids and calories overcome the effects of the antioxidants. (Regular consumption of dark chocolate is associated with low serum concentrations of C-reactive protein in a healthy Italian population. J Nutr. 2008 Oct;138(10):1939-45).

 

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