Eating chocolate linked to boost in brain power, says science

A longitudinal study of 1000 participants found eating dark chocolate helped improve cognitive performance

chocolate, brain,

[AP Photo/Matthew Mead]

Almost two weeks into the abstaining season of Lent, bad news for those who have given up chocolate till Easter Sunday, as a new study has found a link between taking bites of the cocoa treat and a boost in cognitive performance.

The research, based on a longitudinal study in which nearly 1000 people between the ages of 23 and 98 were measured for dietary intake, cardiovascular risk factors, and cognitive function, was just published in the Appetite journal. The study revealed that regularly eating chocolate went hand in hand with cognitive function, “irrespective of other dietary habits.”

The more chocolate a person eats, according to the findings, the more likely that person is to be “significantly associated with better performance on [cognitive tests including] visual-spatial memory and organisation, working memory, scanning and tracking, abstract reasoning, and the mini-mental state examination.”

The scientists behind the survey say that the secret brain-boosting ingredient in chocolate is cocoa flavanols, a subgroup of flavonoids. A higher rate of flavanol consumption has also previously been linked to Nobel laureate levels, according to a study completed by Franz H Messerli.

Flavanols are more abundant in dark chocolate than milk or white, meaning that budding geniuses should pair square of the high-cocoa count sweet stuff with other flavanol-filled superfoods like tea, red wine, grapes or apples.

The researchers in this study also said that their findings support the findings of recent clinical trials that suggest “regular intake of cocoa flavanols may have a beneficial effect on cognitive function, and possibly protect against normal age-related cognitive decline.”

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