25 August 2020

Studies: Dark chocolate boosts our brain health

Daily dark chocolate 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 showing the positive effects of dark chocolate on brain health in a study. Responsible for the effect of the cocoa flavanols present, which increase blood volume in the brain and make it more powerful.

A research team from the University of L’Aquila in Italy investigated the influence of dark chocolate on the brain. Researchers noted improvements in working memory performance and visual information processing from chocolate consumption. Older people who regularly ate a little dark chocolate were able to significantly improve their attention, processing speed and fluidity. The research results were published in the journal “Frontiers in Nutrrition”.

Dark chocolate – a panacea for the brain?

The research results showed several positive effects of chocolate consumption. Among other things, the participants experienced improvements in cognitive performance. In addition, eating dark chocolate has also counteracted the effects of sleep deprivation in women. However, in young and healthy adults, the positive effects were only noticeable in more demanding cognitive tests.

Performance improvement in age even more obvious

In the elderly, it was found that cognitive performance improved after daily intake of dark chocolate. Factors such as attention, processing speed, working memory and speech flow were significantly affected. The strongest improvements were those who already had mild cognitive deficits before taking them regularly.

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 cerebral blood volume in the hippocampus. This brain region is mainly affected by the aging process and is a potential source of age-related amnesia and limitations in cognitive performance.

Cocoa flavanols for protection against age-related memory disorders

“Our findings indicate the potential of cocoa flavanols to protect and enhance mental performance in vulnerable populations,” write authors Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara of the University of L’Aquila report. Indeed, regular intake of cocoa and chocolate can have a positive effect on brain performance.