FLASH: Science Says Eating Chocolate Every Day Is Good for Your Brain
By Caroline Picard
Forget about that “apple a day”, if you want to keep the doctor away, try a piece of dark chocolate instead.
Regularly snacking on cocoa-flavored treats can help protect your brain from cognitive decline, according to a new review from the University of L’Aquila in Italy.
Packed with both antioxidants and iron, dark chocolate has already made a name for itself as a smart choice for dessert lovers.
Its potential brain-boosting powers only sweeten the deal. Eating some every day helps improve attention, processing speed, working memory and verbal fluency, based on the recent compilation of past studies.
“Regular intake of cocoa and chocolate could indeed provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning over time,” said review authors Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara.
Their analysis published in Frontiers in Nutrition found that seniors at risk for memory decline received the biggest perks from eating chocolate.
Regularly choosing the treat could help improve vital thinking processes over time. A quick snack may provide some short-term advantages too.
Eating cocoa also helped young and healthy adults perform better on tough 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 packs in way more flavanols than its milk counterpart, but you can also find them in apples, pears and grapes, among other foods.
The special type of flavonoid supports a healthy cardiovascular system and could increase blood flow to a part of the brain particularly affected by aging, Ms. Socci and Ferrara say.
Both of them indulge in a little dark chocolate every day, but warn against eating too much, especially if the bar’s packed with sugar and other additives.
Luckily, choosing chocolate can also stave off cravings for more indulgent desserts later on, says Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
“Having an ounce of chocolate per day, or about 150 to 200 calories, has a number of different benefits,” she says.
“While no food is a miracle-worker, I am a huge proponent of treating yourself with chocolate daily.”
While you probably should not give up on apples entirely, adding a little dark chocolate into the mix will not hurt. Yes, we get it, we like it!
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