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Breaking News: Eating Chocolate Improves Your Brain Activity
- Professor Ian Macdonald of the University of Nottingham in the UK, found that the ingestion of a cocoa drink boosted blood flow to key areas of the brain for a period of 2 to 3 hours.
- The research results opened the possibility that the active ingredients of chocolate could be utilized as a treatment for vascular impairment in the brain which might contribute to strokes, dementia and other conditions.
- Dark chocolate will give you less of a blood sugar spike and is less likely to be laid down as fat, when compared with milk chocolate.
Excellent news for chocolate lovers! Studies have found that chocolate could help to improve cognitive skills for short periods.
Research conducted by Professor Ian Macdonald of the University of Nottingham in the UK, found that the ingestion of a cocoa drink boosted blood flow to key areas of the brain for a period of 2 to 3 hours. The cocoa drink was rich in flavanols which is a key ingredient of dark chocolate. The improved flow of blood to these important areas of the brain was shown to improve performance in some tasks because it boosted general alertness during a short period after consumption.
The research results opened the possibility that the active ingredients of chocolate could be utilized as a treatment for vascular impairment in the brain which might contribute to strokes, dementia and other conditions.
Other conclusions suggest that the flavanols found in cocoa and chocolate could assist in improving brain function for those who are fatigued or deprived of sleep. They may also prevent the effects of aging on brain function.
Professor of metabolic physiology at Nottingham University, Ian Macdonald, used MRI technology (magnetic resonance imaging) to monitor greater activity in particular areas of the brain in people who had ingested a cocoa drink, rich in flavanols. The resulting improved brain function was attributed to the dilation (expansion) of cerebral blood vessels. This allowed more blood to reach important areas of the brain which meant that more oxygen was available to improve cognitive function.
Chocolate with a high cocoa content i.e. usually dark chocolate is a good source of flavanols. Other good sources to include in a psychoactive meal include green tea, red wine and blueberries.
Professor Ian MacDonald revealed the results of his study at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference. The AAAS is the biggest general scientific society in the world and publishes the renowned international journal, “Science”. The annual AAAS conference attracts up to 10,000 people. He said: “Acute consumption of this particular flavanol-rich cocoa beverage was associated with increased grey matter flow for two to three hours. The demonstration of an effect of consuming this particular beverage on cerebral blood flow raises the possibility that certain food ingredients may be beneficial in increasing brain blood flow and enhancing brain function in situations where individuals are cognitively impaired such as fatigue, sleep deprivation, or possibly ageing.”
Professor MacDonald said that that the high level of cocoa flavanols that were used in the study were not available commercially. The cocoa drink was specially made to be rich in flavanols for the research study.
A number of scientific studies have made similar findings. However, bear in mind that chocolate tends to be very high in fat and sugar, and therefore should be enjoyed in moderation. Dark chocolate has the benefit of having a higher cocoa content, but also has a better glycemic index than milk chocolate, which means that your body digests dark chocolate at a slower rate. This means dark chocolate will give you less of a blood sugar spike and is less likely to be laid down as fat, when compared with milk chocolate.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Healthy Eating Habits22 Jan 2009|