How Cocoa And Chocolate Affect Your Brain

Chocolate is one of the most favorite foods. But eating too much chocolate may have different health outcomes.

Many studies had shown that eating foods that contain plenty of cocoa flavanols like chocolate have negative effects. These effects may involve weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes.

While other studies suggest that chocolate is aphrodisiac.

But the latest study had found the positive impact of chocolate consumption. And this time, the effect was not on the physical aspect, but on the cognition.

Recently, a group of Italian researchers questioned the effect of cocoa flavanols. They basically addressed two main questions: first, what happens to the brain after eating cocoa flavanols? Secondly, what happens when you eat cocoa flavanol for a long period of time?

The paper was published in Frontiers in Nutrition.

The researchers found that cocoa flavanols can improve cognitive functioning, attention, processing speed, and working memory. In other words, eating chocolates can boost mental processing. Those who suffer from memory loss can include chocolate in their dietary habit. In addition, eating chocolate can make you think fast, attentive, and have a sharp memory.

The effects of long-term consumption of chocolate were investigated among elder people. The finding suggests that daily consumption increases cognitive performance. The significantly affected areas of cognition involved working memory, attention, processing speed, and verbal fluency. Interestingly, these effects are most evident among adults who experience the onset of cognitive impairments.

Furthermore, chocolate consumption can protect your mental and cardiovascular functioning.

The findings, although need further investigation, provide new significant information – that eating chocolate is more than a treat. This is also the view of Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara the researchers from the University of L’Aquila in Italy.

“This result suggests the potential of cocoa flavanols to protect cognition in vulnerable populations over time by improving cognitive performance. If you look at the underlying mechanism, the cocoa flavanols have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health and can increase cerebral blood volume in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. This structure is particularly affected by aging and therefore the potential source of age-related memory decline in humans.”

But chocolate consumption should be with caution. Because too much of it may be unhealthy. “Regular intake of cocoa and chocolate could indeed provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning over time.

There are, however, potential side effects of eating cocoa and chocolate. Those are generally linked to the caloric value of chocolate, some inherent chemical compounds of the cocoa plant such as caffeine and theobromine, and a variety of additives we add to chocolate such as sugar or milk.”

Overall, the findings provide new understanding beyond common perception.