Chocolate Lovers Have Healthier Brains, Says Science

Mar 01, 2016 06:33 AM EST | By Josine Macaspac (

Science keeps giving us new reasons to indulge in chocolate. Gone were the days when chocolate was considered an unhealthy indulgence. Studies from different reputable institutions have come up with findings that chocolate isn't really as bad as people originally figured. Over the years, it has been found that there are various health benefits which can be derived from eating chocolates. One such benefit is how chocolate helps our brain health.

Chocolate contains flavanols and methylxanthines. These things are believed to contribute to the mood enhancing effects of chocolate. One systemic review found that 5 out of 8 studies established that chocolate contributes to the improvement our mood state or it helps to attenuate negative moods. Another study found that compared with chocolate without polyphenol, those with high polyphenol was shown to improve depression and anxiety and can reduce the burden of the symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Chocolate also seems to have an effect on our cognitive function. A study in 2013 found that there is a "strong correlation between neurovascular coupling and cognitive function." The study found that regular cocoa consumption improves both neurovascular coupling and cognitive functions of those with baseline cognitive impairment.

Dark chocolate has also been found to contribute much to our brain function. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that help improve blood flow to the brain which ultimately improves memory. It also has high magnesium content which in turn helps relieve stress. Chocolate consultant and co-founder of World Chocolate Guide Dom Ramsey have said, "It's long been known that a key chemical compound in chocolate, theobromine, has a stimulant effect on the brain similar to that of caffeine."

Ultimately, chocolate really contributes to our brain function but to optimize the benefits we can get from chocolate, we should consume cocoa powder or good dark chocolate. Milk chocolate is also good (experts found it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease) but dark chocolate is preferred. The therapeutic effects are found in the cocoa and dark chocolate normally has 70 percent more cocoa than milk chocolate. Also, take things in moderation. Regular moderate amounts of good dark chocolate produce the best effects in the long run.

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