Credit: © Rozmarina / Fotolia

Credit: © Rozmarina / Fotolia

Chocolate may be the secret to improving brain function

Chocolate may be the secret to improving brain function, according to new research from Italy. Looks like chocolate is more than just a sweet treat.

Dark chocolate (organic and at least 70% cacao) is widely considered a super food by health experts. It has shown the potential to fight Alzheimer’s, reduce blood pressure, and even protect from heart disease.

The new review by Italian researchers analyzed data on the effects of cocoa flavanols on cognitive function. They set out to find how a chocolate rich diet can affect health after a prolonged period of time

In the review, many of the participants showed improvement in working memory and improved visual information after having chocolate flavanols.

And for women, eating chocolate after a night of sleep deprivation reversed the negative cognitive effects of bad sleep.

The effects of chocolate were found to be most prevalent in older adults with early symptoms of cognitive decline.

According to the study authors Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara from the University of L’Aquila in Italy, this was the most unexpected effect they found.

This result suggests the potential of cocoa flavanols to protect cognition in vulnerable populations over time by improving cognitive performance. If you look at the underlying mechanism, the cocoa flavanols have beneficial effects for cardiovascular health and can increase cerebral blood volume in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. This structure is particularly affected by aging and therefore the potential source of age-related memory decline in humans.”

Regular intake of cocoa and chocolate could indeed provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning over time. There are, however, potential side effects of eating cocoa and chocolate. Those are generally linked to the caloric value of chocolate, some inherent chemical compounds of the cocoa plant such as caffeine and theobromine, and a variety of additives we add to chocolate such as sugar or milk.”

The study showing that chocolate may be the secret to improving brain function was published in the journal Frontiers In Nutrition.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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REFERENCES:
1. “Cocoa and Chocolate Are Not Just Treats — They Are Good for Your Cognition.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2017. Web. 29 June 2017.
2. “Enhancing Human Cognition with Cocoa Flavonoids.” Frontiers. Frontiers, 27 Apr. 2017. Web. 29 June 2017.

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