Last Updated on May 3, 2016 at 12:13 PM
Health In Focus
  • Dark chocolate has numerous health benefits including lowering cholesterol levels, preventing memory decline and reducing risk of cardiovascular problems.
  • Magnesium present in dark chocolate helps regulate the body's internal clock.
  • Magnesium also controls the burning of energy whenever the cells biologically need it.
Next time you put a piece of chocolate in your mouth, do not go on a guilt trip. Contrary to popular belief, this bitter-sweet treat has numerous health benefits, much more than you could imagine!

Packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals, the dark chocolate is undoubtedly one of the most comforting foods ever. Dark chocolate which is a powerful source of antioxidants is proven scientifically to have a host of health benefits especially its cardio-protective effects and effects on improving brain function.
Longing for a Good Night’s Sleep? Dark Chocolate Could Be The Answer!

Usually, the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains, however it is important to remember that it is rich in calories and should be consumed in moderation. Choose the dark chocolate with cocoa content of 70 percent or more to get maximum benefits.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and University of Cambridge in the UK are of the opinion that foods like dark chocolate, nuts, whole grains, fish, bananas, avocados and green leafy vegetables are rich in the mineral magnesium, which help the body cells to cope with the body's circadian rhythm.

Researchers believe that eating 'magnesium-rich' dark chocolate may help you sleep better as it helps in regulating the body clock. This bitter-sweet treat when eaten at night could help you cope up with the rhythms of night and day.

The findings of the study were published in the journal Nature.

Magnesium is the second most abundant element inside human cells, which is important for more than 300 enzyme-driven biochemical reactions occurring in our body which convert nutrients into energy. It also plays a crucial role in the burning of energy whenever the cells need it. It is best to get the daily requirement of magnesium through your diet.

Circadian rhythms or what is often referred to as "body clock" are physical, mental and behavioral changes found in most living things which follows a 24-hour cycle roughly. It is an internal body clock, which tells our bodies when to sleep, wake-up and eat, amongst many other physiological processes that it controls.

Researchers conducted experiments on three major types of biological organisms - fungi, algae and human cells and using molecular analysis found that levels of magnesium in cells rise and fall in a daily cycle. This peak and trough levels were critical to sustain the 24-hour clock in cells and also affected their metabolism as to how fast cells could convert nutrients into energy.

Gerben Van Ooijen from the University of Edinburgh remarked, "Internal clocks are fundamental to all living things. They influence many aspects of health and disease in our own bodies, but equally in crop plants and micro-organisms."

Co-author John O'Neill from University of Cambridge mentioned, "The new discovery could lead to a whole range of benefits spanning human health to agricultural productivity."

This amazing discovery could help in the development of chronotherapy - treatment scheduled according to the time of the day - for patients and could boost agricultural yields and productivity.

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Source: Medindia

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