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Eating Chocolate At Least Once A Week Can Change Your Brain

Eating Chocolate At Least Once A Week Can Change Your Brain

Good news for your sweet tooth! According to a recent study, eating chocolate at least once a week can increase your cognitive ability. It’s true, you have the permission to get up and go eat some chocolate!

In ancient times chocolate was used as medicine to “reduce fever, treat childhood diarrhea, promote strength before sexual conquests, decrease ‘female complaints’, increase breast-milk production, encourage sleep and helps to clean the teeth.” However, this new research is different. Read on to find out what makes chocolate a super-food for the BRAIN.

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How Chocolate Changes Our Cognitive Ability

The study done at the Main-Syracuse Longitudinal center by Merrill Elias studied over 1,000 people: the researchers used a number of different cognitive tests on people who never or rarely ate chocolate and gave the same tests to those who ate chocolate at least once a week. The people who regularly ate chocolate scored better on cognitive exams and carried out simple tasks such as remembering phone numbers with greater success.

“We found that people who eat chocolate at least once a week tend to perform better cognitively,” said Elias. “It’s significant – it touches a number of cognitive domains. The key benefits of eating chocolate once a week increased “visual-spatial memory, working memory, scanning and tracking, abstract reasoning, and the mini-mental state examination.”

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While the research suggests that they don’t know exactly what the relationship between chocolate and cognitive ability is, they do know that there’s something special going on here.

Flavonols Increase The Brain’s Power

What science does know about chocolate is that it’s full of flavonols. Flavonols are found naturally in cocoa, which chocolate is made from, and they seem to have a positive effect on people’s brains. Many studies have found that intaking flavonols can reduce the effects of age on cognitive ability and memory. This study tested 90 elderly people over an 8 week period and on an average the people who ingested high levels of flavonols completed tests they were given faster.

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Another study from 2010 found that flavonols increase the brain’s power. It’s thought that flavonols, like coffee and tea, increase blood flow to the brain, and therefore improve it’s cognitive ability.

Some Chocolates Are Better

This is not to suggest that everyone should stop what they’re doing and shove chocolate bars down their throats. Chocolate is still full of sugars, which is currently the bane of the nutrient world. However, now there seems to be a good reason to eat some chocolate occasionally.

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However, now there seems to be a good reason to eat some chocolate occasionally. Dark chocolate is higher in flavonols and lower in sugar than milk chocolate, so it surely is the better option. At most grocery stores, you can find dark chocolate that has up to 90% cocoa. That’s almost pure chocolate! Since flavonols are naturally occurring in cocoa, it stands to reason that the higher the percentage of chocolate you’re eating, the better it is for your brain.

Go buy some dark chocolate and enjoy. Don’t take it from me, take it from a scientist, Merill Elias says “I think what we can say for now is that you can eat small amounts of chocolate without guilt if you don’t substitute the chocolate for a normal balanced healthy diet.”

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Last Updated on February 25, 2020

Face Adversity with a Smile

Face Adversity with a Smile

I told my friend Graham that I often cycle the two miles from my house to the town centre but unfortunately there is a big hill on the route. He replied, ‘You mean fortunately.’ He explained that I should be glad of the extra exercise that the hill provided.

My attitude to the hill has now changed. I used to grumble as I approached it but now I tell myself the following. This hill will exercise my heart and lungs. It will help me to lose weight and get fit. It will mean that I live longer. This hill is my friend. Finally as I wend my way up the incline I console myself with the thought of all those silly people who pay money to go to a gym and sit on stationery exercise bicycles when I can get the same value for free. I have a smug smile of satisfaction as I reach the top of the hill.

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Problems are there to be faced and overcome. We cannot achieve anything with an easy life. Helen Keller was the first deaf and blind person to gain a University degree. Her activism and writing proved inspirational. She wrote, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

One of the main determinants of success in life is our attitude towards adversity. From time to time we all face hardships, problems, accidents, afflictions and difficulties. Some are of our making but many confront us through no fault of our own. Whilst we cannot choose the adversity we can choose our attitude towards it.

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Douglas Bader was 21 when in 1931 he had both legs amputated following a flying accident. He was determined to fly again and went on to become one of the leading flying aces in the Battle of Britain with 22 aerial victories over the Germans. He was an inspiration to others during the war. He said, “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”

How can you change your attitude towards the adversity that you face? Try these steps:

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  1. Confront the problem. Do not avoid it.
  2. Deliberately take a positive attitude and write down some benefits or advantages of the situation.
  3. Visualise how you will feel when you overcome this obstacle.
  4. Develop an action plan for how to tackle it.
  5. Smile and get cracking.

The biographies of great people are littered with examples of how they took these kinds of steps to overcome the difficulties they faced. The common thread is that they did not become defeatist or depressed. They chose their attitude. They opted to be positive. They took on the challenge. They won.

Featured photo credit: Jamie Brown via unsplash.com

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