The points below were highlighted by researchers from The University of South Australia, The University of Maine, and Luxembourg Institute of Health.

  • Chocolate has been used since ancient times to treat many health complaints.
  • The impact of chocolate on cognitive function is not well understood.
  • Chocolate intake was positively associated with cognitive performance.
  • Mechanisms may involve the action of cocoa flavanols and methylxanthines in chocolate.

These ideas prompted the researchers to delve into the potential positive effects of chocolate on cognitive function. It is an interesting idea and yet little is known about this. Also interesting, is how the coffee bean looks similar in appearance to the cocoa bean. They also share neurochemicals in common, for example xanthines (caffeine and theobromine). It is also worth noting these compounds are also found in teas. Perhaps many people are aware of the cognitive boost that is obtained with coffee and tea consumption. For these reasons, it is plausible that chocolate should in principle be beneficial for the brain as well.

“The cognitive function of participants was assessed through a series of tasks that tested visual-spatial memory and organization (the ability to understand and remember spatial relations among objects), working memory (the ability to process new and existing information), verbal memory (the ability to remember words and other factors related to language) and scanning and tracking (the ability to focus on specific objects).”

Fortunately, it was found from their 30 year analysis of participants that there is indeed a significant improvement in the areas mentioned above for those consuming chocolate at least once a week vs. those consuming it seldom. The researchers find the results reasonable, and suggest that this may be made possible by the fact that cocoa contains flavenols which improve blood flow to the brain, along with containing caffeine. Another interesting finding is that benefits may not be limited to dark varieties, since participants in the study consumed white, milk and dark chocolate.

All in all…Great news for chocolate lovers!!! Chocolate may boost cognitive function

Chocolate intake is associated with better cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study