Forget about the apple a day. If you really want to keep the doctor away, try a piece of chocolate instead. According to the latest study from the University of L’Aquila in Italy, enjoying the properties of cocoa can help protect your brain from cognitive decline.
Packed with antioxidants and iron, dark chocolate has already made a name for itself as a smart choice for lovers of desserts. Its potential powers to stimulate the brain not only sweeten, it also helps improve attention, processing speed, working memory and verbal fluency, according to the research.
“Eating chocolate every day could provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning over time,” said authors Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara. Their analysis published in Frontiers in Nutrition found that older people at risk of memory impairment received the greatest benefits of eating chocolate every day. Choosing the treatment regularly could help improve the processes of vital thought over time.
Eating chocolate every day can also provide some short-term benefits. Consuming cocoa also helped healthy young adults to perform better on difficult cognitive tests almost immediately, although the effect was more subtle.
The powerful benefits come from cocoa flavanols, a compound known for its health benefits. Dark chocolate contains more flavanols than milk chocolate, but you can also find flavonols in apples, pears and grapes, among other foods that, in addition, have fewer calories .
According to Socci and Ferrara, the special type of flavonoid is compatible with a healthy cardiovascular system and could increase blood flow to a part of the brain especially affected by aging. Both enjoy a little black chocolate every day, but warn against eating too much, especially if the bar is full of sugar and other additives.