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Dark chocolate every day keeps the brain fit
It sounds too good to be true: eating chocolate can be good for your health. An Italian research team is now studying the positive effects of dark chocolate on brain health. The cocoa flavanols contained are said to be responsible for the effect, which increase the blood volume in the brain and make it more efficient.
A research team from the University of L’Aquila in Italy examined the influence of dark chocolate on the brain. The researchers identified improvements in working memory performance and the processing of visual information by chocolate consumption. Older people who ate a little dark chocolate regularly could greatly improve their attention, processing speed, and language flow. The study results were published in the specialist journal "Frontiers in Nutrrition".
Dark chocolate - a miracle cure for the brain?
The study results showed several positive effects from chocolate consumption. Among other things, the participants experienced improvements in cognitive performance. In addition, eating dark chocolate in women also counteracted the effects of sleep deprivation. In young and healthy adults, however, the positive effects were only noticeable with more sophisticated cognitive tests.
Performance increase in old age even more clearly
In older people, it was found that cognitive performance improved after taking dark chocolate every day. Factors such as attention, processing speed, working memory and language flow were significantly influenced. The improvements were greatest in people who already showed slight cognitive weaknesses before regular intake.
Why is dark chocolate good for brain performance?
According to the study, the so-called cocoa flavanols in dark chocolate are responsible for the positive effect. These flavanols have a positive effect on cardiovascular health and can increase the cerebral blood volume in the hippocampus. This brain region is particularly badly affected by the aging process and is a potential source for age-related memory loss and for impairments in cognitive performance.
Cocoa flavanols to protect against age-related memory loss
"Our result indicates the potential of cocoa flavanols to protect and improve mental performance in vulnerable groups," study authors Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara from the University of L’Aquila report. A regular intake of cocoa and chocolate can indeed have a positive effect on brain performance.
Caution: enjoy consciously!
"However, there are potential side effects when eating cocoa and chocolate," the researchers point out. These are generally related to the caloric value of chocolate, as well as some of the additives found in chocolate, such as sugar, milk, caffeine and theobromine. Therefore, regular consumption should always be done consciously and in small quantities.
Other health benefits with dark chocolate
- Dark chocolate counteracts high blood pressure
- Dark chocolate increases our eyesight
- Dark chocolate is effective against stress and inflammation
Cognitive skills and memory can also be improved by other means. Find out more here: Tips for improving memory performance (vb)