It looks like there could be some excellent news for chocolate lovers after new research found that eating the sweet treat has a positive association with ‘cognitive performance’.
Published in the journal Appetite, researchers used data collected from a study in which 968 people aged between 23 and 98 were measured for dietary intake and cardiovascular risk factors, as well as cognitive function, reports the Independent.
The researchers discovered that regularly eating chocolate was significantly associated with cognitive function – irrespective of the test subjects’ other dietary habits.
In fact – in terms of brain activity – it seems that the more chocolate you eat, the better it is for the old grey matter.
The study reported that:
More frequent chocolate consumption was significantly associated with better performance on [cognitive tests including] visual-spatial memory and organisation, working memory, scanning and tracking, abstract reasoning, and the mini-mental state examination.
According to the report it is the ‘cocoa flavanols’ – apparently a subgroup of flavonoids – which are found in chocolate that are associated with the positive cognitive function.
The highest levels are found in dark chocolate – less so in milk or white chocolate – with tea, red wine and certain fruits such as grapes and apples also found to contain high levels of flavanols.
The researchers also stated that their findings support other recent trials suggesting that a regular intake of cocoa flavanols may have a ‘beneficial effect on cognitive function, and possibly protect against normal age-related cognitive decline’.
Plus, you know, it’s delicious.