Finally, someone has proven what all us chocoholics have known for a long time now – more chocolate makes you more cleverer.
Research published in the journal Appetite, revealed a positive link between frequent chocolate intake and cognitive performance.
The study measured 968 people aged between 23 and 98 for dietary intake and cardiovascular risk factors, as well as cognitive function, and it found that regularly eating chocolate was significantly associated with brain function ‘irrespective of other dietary habits’.
The research revealed that habitual 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.
Key to this sweet link are cocoa flavanols – a subgroup of flavonoids, which are found in chocolate. Dark chocolate has the highest levels of flavanols, while milk and white chocolate have less. High levels of flavanols are also found in tea, red wine and some fruits, such as grapes and apples.
The recent study also suggested that chocolate intake can ‘protect against normal age-related cognitive decline,’ meaning chocolate eating is definitely not just for kids.
For centuries, chocolate has been used as a remedy for all kinds of illness – there’s evidence of Mesoamerican civilisations using the cacao bean as, basically, hot chocolate from at least as early as 600 B.C, and as it reached Europe in the 16th century, it was regularly prescribed as medicine to treat fevers and colds.
Of course, in more recent times, chocolate has become the comforting treat that we all know and love.
While the good news comes just in time for the ever-indulgent Christmas period, the even better news to be taken from this is, to improve cognitive function, chocolate consumption needs to be regular and frequent.
Eat up everyone.
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.