Keep Your Brain Sharp: Eat Chocolate

Individuals born in the years following the Second World War have developed many different tactics to preserve their cognitive functions. Some of them prefer physical activity while others play brain games (puzzle games, chess etc.) on their computers. Of course, some of them combine these and many other activities.

According to a research released not while ago, there is another thing that aging individuals can do to preserve their mental sharpness which is definitely less demanding – eating chocolate.

Eat Chocolate To Keep Your Brain Sharp

Keep Your Brain Sharp - Eat ChocolateAccording to the results of the scientific study which involved hundreds of people, consumption of cocoa flavanols on a daily basis may produce positive effects in brain functions and there is a good chance that they will help people avoid cognitive deterioration due to aging. The study was conducted by a team of scientists from the University of South Australia. Georgina Crichton led this team.

The report published in the famous Appetite journal points out that despite the fact that specific factors like heart health, diet in general and lifestyle affect the mental capacity of any aging person, they have also found sufficient evidence associated with frequent consumption of chocolate and brain performance.

This is actually quite good because almost everyone likes chocolate.

The scientists relied on the information taken from the so-called Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal study. This study was focused on analysis of brain performance and cardiovascular issues in a huge number of patients over 60 living in Syracuse.

It included about 1000 individuals who had to complete questionnaires that have shown information like daily physical activity, smoking preferences, socio-economic situation, BMI (body mass index) and eating patterns.

A few months after that, the same group of patients had to answer one question – how frequently they eat chocolate.

Cognitive function was evaluated with the help of several tests created to assess a huge range of brain domains like visual and spatial memory, working memory or the quantity of info you can understand at once in order to complete complex activities and how sound you can bring to mind events from the past (episodic memory).

In their report, scientists have revealed that consumption of chocolate had positive impact on the brain performance in general and in specific areas. The link between eating more chocolate per one week and brain function was still important even after the changes in specific heart health risk factors.

What is even better is that this impact seems to occur even when there are no other changes in the diet. The fact is that people who start to consume chocolate more frequently feel these benefits.

According to Crichton and her team, the results they got were confirmed by lab studies that took place between 2007 and 2013 which determined a direct connection between people’s favorite dessert and brain functioning.

They were focused on flavanols, natural substances commonly found in cocoa beans. Even though they can be found in milk chocolate, the fact is that they are found more often in dark chocolate.

However, the Maine-Syracuse study didn’t provide more detailed information about participants’ chocolate consumption habit. They didn’t specify what kind of chocolate they are eating. But if we take the fact that flavanols are the most important ingredient, it is highly recommended to use dark chocolate that contains high amount of cocoa.

The scientists have pointed out that people should not ignore the proper intake of calories which means that chocolate can’t be consumed in large amounts and you can’t use it as a substitution for some meals. However, it is certainly good news to learn that a food that is favored by many people is beneficial for the brain (and heart) of course only if we eat it moderately.

According to humorist Dave Barry, human mouth and hand had made an agreement not to involve brain when it comes to chocolate consumption. The latest studies show that our brain may have realized that chocolate is good, so it doesn’t want to stop us from doing something good for our health.

Via Pacific Standard

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