People are always looking for an excuse to consume more chocolate. A delectable comfort food that increases one’s serotonin levels, it’s a feel-good food that allows emotions to be translated into the senses – and that’s only one of the reasons it’s so appealing.
But according to a recent study, chocolate may be so good for your brain it could even improve your brain’s function as you age, even more than aerobic exercise does.
But before you begin shoveling in the nearest candy bar, you need to know that the amount they found to offer this potential benefit is nauseatingly high. And we mean, a lot of chocolate.
One kilogram of pure, unrefined cocoa (or cacao) powder would offer these benefits, according to the Oxford University Press. Or, if you prefer chocolate-covered treats like Butterfinger or Twix, that would mean one would need to consume 44 pounds of chocolate in one day to derive these benefits – and that’s a huge amount of sugar.
For the study, which was published in the journal of Nature Neuroscience, a team of scientists from Colombia University and NYU gave a daily dose of flavanols extracted from cocoa powder to a small number of healthy 50-to 69-year old subjects.
Half of those participating were given a small dose of flavanols, and the other half a large dose, both for a total of three months.
As anticipated by the researchers, those who received a high dose were reported to have higher memory function scores than those who received a low dose.
But the elder peoples’ brains didn’t benefit at all from exercising – which is quite suspect, as it’s a finding highly inconsistent with a plethora of other literature on this topic.
Either way, this study – again – shows the potential benefits of pure, unprocessed cocoa (from the cacao pod). But keep in mind that the healthiest way to consume this food – and reap more nutritional benefit from the theobromine-containing delicacy – is to have it in its pure form devoid of cheap chemicals, fillers, dairy, and artificial sweeteners.
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