Most of us have a sweet tooth from time to time, and we indulge in some pretty guilty pleasures too. However, new studies show that cocoa is actually amazing for your brain.
Chocolate is a favorite dessert among millions, if not billions, of people. It’s a guilty pleasure shared by many people nonetheless. We don’t really perceive chocolate to be a good thing for us. I mean, today all forms of chocolate you’re gonna get are packed full of sugar and other additives that make it terrible for your body. However, if you can manage to get your hands on some organic cocoa you’ll actually be surprised by how many benefits it has for you. Cocoa beans are fermented seeds of the cacao tree and it has some interesting history.
The cacao tree is derived from a Latin term Theobroma Cacao, which means food of the Gods. It can be found native in the Amazon region and is considered an important crop in Central and South America. Cocoa trees stand about 12-25 feet tall and they grow naturally in tropical environments. We get most of our chocolate from cocoa, and studies show that it is really good for your brain. According to the research, regular consumption of cocoa is really good for your brain.
Cocoa contains flavanols and antioxidants that boost the brain’s memory and cognitive performance. Regular consumption has been shown to help protect against mental decline as we get older. The flavonoids occur naturally in the plant and showed positive effects on the circulatory system and maintaining the flexibility of Arteries. A new study published in Neurology studied the true effects of this powerful bean. Farzaneh A. Sorond, MD, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues tested the effects of cocoa consumption on 60 volunteers, average age 73. None of the participants had dementia, but 17 suffered from a condition called impaired neurovascular coupling.
Researchers initially tested two levels of flavanols in cocoa, consumed twice daily for thirty days. They were encouraged to alter their diets to compensate for the extra calories in the cocoa. The small group of volunteers with impaired NVC saw dramatic changes after just a month of cocoa intake. Neurovascular coupling improved by more than double, and scores on standard cognitive tests increased 30%.
The flavanols increase your overall blood vessel function in the brain. This was supported by several other studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Researchers from The University of Nottingham Medical School in the Uk reported findings that cocoa increased brain blood blow.
Lead scientist Ian A. Macdonald, PhD, commented, “This raises the possibility that certain food components like cocoa flavanols may be beneficial in increasing brain blood flow and enhancing brain function among older adults or for others in situations where they may be cognitively impaired, such as fatigue or sleep deprivation.”
Of course eating Reeses and Kit Kats all day long will be terrible for your health, but a supplementation of organic cocoa might keep your brain in tip-top shape. So, next time don’t feel so guilty about eating that chocolate.