Study: Chocolate Boosts Brain Function
You may want to break out the Valentine candy (if you have any left), because there’s some good news for chocolate lovers.
Already shown to be of benefit to the heart, chocolate has now been found to have brain-enhancing qualities, as well. This according to research published in the journal Appetite.
Participants living in Syracuse, N.Y. were measured for dietary intake and risk factors for cardiovascular disease. For the dietary portion, the people answered a questionnaire that measured how frequently they consumed a list of foods, including meat, rice and pasta, fruit, vegetables, chocolate, other snack-type foods, as well as beverages like water, coffee, and alcohol. The answers ranged from never to once or more per day.
To measure for cognitive function, participants were given a series of tests designed to measure a wide range of cognitive domains: visual-spatial memory and organization, scanning and tracking, verbal episodic memory, and working memory.
Researchers discovered that chocolate consumption positively affected cognitive performance "irrespective of other dietary habits." The finding held up even when researchers adjusted for participant's cardiovascular risk factors, including total and LDL-cholesterol, glucose levels, and hypertension.
For this study the chocolate was not differentiated according to type: milk, dark, or white chocolate. Some studies suggest there's an equal amount of methylxanthines in all chocolate -- a combination of caffeine and theobromine that's been associated with improving alertness and cognitive function -- but an overwhelming amount of chocolate-related research shows greater benefits for dark chocolate.