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Finally! Chocolate Makes You Smarter

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Finally! Chocolate Makes You Smarter

Chocolate has always been a delight to eat and is now more than just a sweet treat. Among the innumerable benefits of chocolate, it can also improve cognitive ability, which is a pleasant surprise for the many chocolate lovers across the world, stated a new study.

A bite of chocolate is a gastronomic experience as you make your way through gooey goodness that fills the mouth with oodles of tasty cocoa, sweetened to taste absolutely divine. It's never really been difficult to eat chocolate, but very difficult to resist it. Weight watchers and diet conscious have steadfastly stayed away from chocolates, finding it hard to say no but saying it nevertheless.

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The study by Crichton GE and colleagues was published in the Journal Appetite and was conducted on 968 study participants between 28 and 98 years of age. The consumption of chocolates frequently was found to have a significant increase in
  • Global composite score
  • Scanning and tracking
  • Visual-spatial memory
  • Working memory
  • Abstract memory
  • Mini-mental state examination
The study conducted by these researchers found an improvement in cognitive behavior, but the exact mechanism of action needs further study. This in no way is a measure for eating more chocolates, but the careful quantities consumed will help in better cognitive ability.

The pinch in the study is that these fantastic properties of chocolate are hidden in the cocoa flavanols, which are found in abundance in dark chocolates and not in the more popular milk chocolates.
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Cardiovascular Benefits of Dark Chocolate

A study conducted by Higginbotham E and Taub PR and published in the Journal Current Treatment options and Cardiovascular Medicine (Dec 2015) found that dark chocolate has cardiovascular benefits. Dark chocolate contains cocoa flavonol, epicatechin, which is lost in milk chocolate. This flavanol has found to be beneficial in cardiovascular health as it influences
  • Blood pressure
  • Lipids
  • Inflammation
Proposed Mechanism of Action:

The proposed mechanism of action of dark chocolate on cardiovascular health is attributed to
  • Increased bio-availability of nitric oxide
  • Improvement in the structure and function of the mitochondria
Other Benefits of Dark Chocolate:

There are numerous studies which have been performed to study the benefits of eating dark chocolate and they are:
  • Anti-mutagenic, anti-oxidative stress properties give it anti-cancer effect
  • Reduces risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Good for pregnant women as it gives much needed energy and is found to be beneficial in reducing risk for pre-eclampsia
  • Found to improve libido
  • Increases coronary artery diameter
  • Decreases adhesion of platelets
  • Reduced periodontal oxidative stress and so lowers the spread of periodontitis
  • Ground husk of cocoa beans when used as a mouth rinse lowers caries score in children
  • When a small piece of dark chocolate is consumed 10 minutes before a meal, it lowers appetite.
The numerous benefits associated with the consumption of dark chocolate would make it seem like eating dark chocolates should be the order of the day. However, with every positive, there are negatives. Too much of anything is bad and eating chocolates in the right moderation would be the best thing to do.

References :

1. Crichton GE, Elias MF, Alkerwi A. "Chocolate intake is associated with better cognitive function: the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study."; Appetite. 2016 Feb 9

2. Higginbotham E and Taub PR "Cardiovascular Benefits of Dark Chocolate?"; Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med. 2015 Dec

3. I. Andújar, M. C. Recio, R. M. Giner, and J. L. Ríos "Cocoa Polyphenols and Their Potential Benefits for Human Health"; Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012

Source: Medindia

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