Is chocolate good for your brain?

05th Mar 2016

Great news for chocolate lovers! A recent study suggests eating chocolate regularly improves mental skills. The study, published in the journal Appetite found that people who eat chocolate at least one time per week outperform those who ate chocolate less often on mental tests.

Georgie Crichton of Sansom Institute for Health at the University of South Australia and leader of the study said, “Chocolate and cocoa flavanols have been associated with improvements in a range of health complaints dating from ancient times, and have established cardiovascular benefits, but less is known about the effect of chocolate on neurocognition and behavior.”

The researchers performed a variety of brain performance tests including memory, scanning and tracking, visual-spatial memory, abstract reasoning, and organization. Taking into account age, sex, education, blood pressure, alcohol intake, and cholesterol, people that regularly ate chocolate outperformed those who didn’t.

Researchers speculate that flavonoids, which are found in plant-based foods, may be partly responsible for protecting against a normal decline of mental skills as people age. Chocolate also contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which improve alertness and mental skills.

The amount in cocoa present in milk chocolate ranges from 7-15 percent, and 30-70 percent in dark chocolate.

It is important to note that chocolate intake should be balanced against a healthy diet and lifestyle.