I have one weakness – chocolate. Now I have an excuse for indulging in my love of chocolate without feeling too guilty about it as its actually shown to increase brain power and more importantly, help me to become smarter! I am not against anything that helps to make me smarter. I was a little skeptical at first only because I would read articles from a wide variety of sources citing that we should be eating less chocolate or eating more of it with such revelations as “Chocolate improves your mood!” or “Chocolate causes cancer!” or “Chocolate makes you smarter!!” and so on. I seem to already be in an age where everything around me is smart – smart phones, smart cars, smart TVs, smart watches, I think you catch my drift. I would be the last person to say I am smart but if chocolate can boost my brain power, improve my memory, or make me smarter, then perhaps we can add chocolate to the list of smart things or smart foods. Of course many of these revelations are not scientifically proven as far as I know and you shouldn’t believe everything you read but a lot of us seem to believe most everything we read – including myself.
I love a hot chocolate before I go to bed or when the weather gets colder and just whenever I feel like it really. A study from a couple of years ago (sorry I am all about studies and reports these days!!) in a journal called Neurology looked at the benefits of cocoa and more specifically at flavanols which are naturally occurring antioxidants found in various types of plants, and their effects on blood pressure. Although the study looked at individuals between the ages of 67 and 77 and who had 30 days of twice-daily hot chocolate consumption, the results were a 30 percent increase in memory and thinking abilities. Another report from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS) suggested that eating chocolate at least once a week (cough! or more) can actually have positive effects on mental cognition. This study didn’t say what percentage of chocolate that the people were eating, so we don’t know if it was white chocolate or 85% dark chocolate. However, it’s the chemical cocoa flavanol that’s found in chocolate of different percentages that’s supposed to boost brain power and especially the part of the brain associated with memory (runs to kitchen to get more chocolate) and can give rise to better blood flow to this part of the brain – which beats standing on my head. I can’t say I am fond of 85 % dark chocolate as I find it to taste bitter and sweeter chocolate with a lesser percentage might give me a quick sugar rush and extra energy but it’s only temporary. After reading a few articles it does seem that the consensus is that eating chocolate does have some benefits but I am aware that scientists telling us that certain foods are full of surprising miracles shouldn’t be taken as gospel – but at least I can feel less guilty eating chocolate in front of my friends by informing them that I am eating it for legitimate health reasons and it makes me happy.
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