Looking for a really good reason to have that favorite creamy confection stuffed up in your mouth without the sense of guilt? Research recently approved the consumption of chocolate as a very good item on your menu that comes with a whole lot of benefits for your body health and most especially the brain functions. Studies have already shown that chocolate can improve your heart health, lower your blood pressure, and now — it can make you smarter, improving your memory and brain function. Dark chocolate is said to boosts mood, protects the brain from damage, improves memory and focus, reduces stress and much more.
In a new meta-analysis, researchers looked at the effects of eating
chocolate on brain functioning, and their findings are pretty exciting for anyone who loves the sweet stuff. They found that people who ate chocolate showed improvements in working memory and creativity and a boost in cognitive performance overall. Plus, eating chocolate daily appeared to provide some protection from cognitive decline caused by aging.
How Was The Study Conducted?
The 968 participants were from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study, which has followed the same group of New Yorkers for more than 35 years. The participants undertake questionnaires and physical examinations at various intervals so researchers can determine changes associated with ageing, the development of heart disease and also cognitive performance.
In 2006, the participants reported how often during the week they ate a variety of foods, including chocolate, meat, eggs, breads, rice, fruit, vegetables, dairy, chocolate, nuts and beverages such as tea, coffee, water, fruit juice and alcohol. Chocolate was not differentiated according to whether it was dark, milk or white chocolate.
The researchers compared those who never or rarely ate chocolate (337 people) and those who ate chocolate at least once a week (631 people). Participants were given various brain function tests – including remembering where things were (spatial memory), abstract reasoning, working memory and attention. The relationships between chocolate intake and performance on the cognitive tasks were then analysed.
The results from people who had dementia were excluded, as this is a serious cognitive impairment, as were people who had experienced a stroke, as this would skew the results. The participants reporting that they ate chocolate more than once a week performed better in most of the cognitive tests, particularly on their “visual-spatial memory and organisation” score. There was no relationship with working memory. Also, the researchers noted that age plays a part in how big the effect of chocolate is on the brain, with younger people showing benefits only on difficult cognitive tasks while older people showed the effects sooner and with normal daily activities.
A previous study found that eating a daily dose of chocolate may cut your risk of heart disease and stroke by a third. Similarly, a separate study concluded that eating chocolate every day for two weeks reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Best of all, chocolate may even boost your sex life. Regular intake of cocoa and chocolate could indeed provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning over time.
Dark chocolate improves learning, memory, and focus.
Dark chocolate can help relieve stress.
Eating dark chocolate can help control food cravings.
Dark chocolate consumption can protect your brain for a lifetime.
Dark chocolate supports good intestinal bacteria, helping your brain.
Eating dark chocolate may make you smarter.
Dark chocolate protects the brain against free radical damage.
Dark Chocolate makes you happy
So then how much is the ideal “medicinal” dose of chocolate? The researchers noted that eating it daily seemed to provide more ongoing benefits. Aim for one ounce a day, of the darkest chocolate you can find, Andrea Giancoli, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told us in The Best and Worst Chocolate for Your Body. “Most palates can’t handle the strong taste of pure dark chocolate,” says Giancoli, “but 70 percent seems to be the sweet spot.” Besides Dark chocolate is a powerful brain booster, the delicious brain food can improve your overall brain health, focus, and concentration, and even make you happier.
It can protect your brain against aging and oxidation and help keep it fit and fully functioning for a lifetime. To get the most health benefits, choose the darkest chocolate that you enjoy.
So what are you waiting for, Bon appetit!