Could eating chocolate help improve your cognitive performance?

In the mid 1970s, psychologist Merrill Elias began tracking the cognitive abilities of more than 1,000 people in the state of New York. He continued his research for decades, eventually expanding it to include dietary habits. This study, thanks to its large sample size, is perhaps the most comprehensive of any study ever undertaken. (Not to mention the most delicious)

The research found that people who eat chocolate at least once a week tend to have better cognitive performance. Finally! Eating chocolate is proven to not only be yummy, but also good for our brains!

In scientific terms, eating chocolate improved visual-spatial memory and [organization], working memory, scanning and tracking, abstract reasoning, and the mini-mental state examination.

What does this mean for you? This translates to a lot of every day tasks such as remembering a phone number, recalling the items on your grocery list and being able to multitask.

The benefits held true for people of all ages, education levels, cardiovascular risk factors, and dietary habits. So no matter who you are, chocolate could help your brain perform better.

The researchers cannot say with absolute certainty why eating chocolate is associated with improved cognitive performance. Elias even admitted that he expected the opposite effect. He thought that chocolate, given its sugar content, would be correlated with stunted brain abilities.

This chocolate research is still unfinished. Researchers say they may next look at dark chocolate and lighter chocolate separately. They may also look at what happens when people eat a lot of chocolate – could it be too much of a good thing?

For now, researchers say you can eat small amounts of chocolate without guilt if you don’t substitute chocolate for a normal balanced healthy diet.

Think chocolate!

Read more here.

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