Photo: Edda Klepp / Pixabay
Chocolate contains cacao, a food that has components that in addition to stimulants are also antioxidants, anti-inflammatory Y promote good health. Cocoa stands out for its richness in plant chemicals called flavonoids that can help protect the heart and that according to recent research can also increase mental performance.
A team from the University of Birmingham found that people who were given a cocoa drink that contained high levels of flavonoids could complete certain cognitive tasks more efficiently than when they drank a flavonoid-free fortified beverage.
In cognitive tests, significant differences were found in the speed and precision with which the volunteers completed the more complex tasks, performed tasks 11 percent faster on average.
Compounds in cocoa improve blood flow
One of the recognized benefits of flavonoids in cocoa is that they favor the production of nitric oxide so they help to relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow, which lowers blood pressure. The beneficial effect of flavonoids on cardiovascular health is known, their effects also benefit brain health.
Greater oxygenation benefits the brain
Together with experts from the University of Illinois, the researchers showed that study participants who drank the flavanol-rich drink they had a greater and faster increase in the levels of oxygenation of the blood in the brain.
The experts relate the improvement of the cerebral response to the improvement of the oxygenation of the blood: “If you face more challenges, your brain needs better blood oxygen levels to handle that challenge. It also suggests that flavonoids could be particularly beneficial during cognitively demanding tasks, ”says Dr. Catarina Rendeiro, one of the authors of the recent study.
Cocoa is particularly rich in flavonoids compared to many other sources. They are also present in grapes, apples, tea, berries, and other foods.
Flavanols in the brain stimulate the creation of new brain cells
Cocoa compounds promote memory and learning
Epicatechin, the most abundant flavanol (class of flavonoid) in cocoa, shows several beneficial effects on the central nervous system. It induces changes in the morphology of neurons, especially in the regions involved in the memory and learning.
The Dark chocolate contains 50-90% cocoa solids. Choose 70% or higher dark chocolate to get the most flavonoids.
Effects on cognition appear to be a general characteristic of flavonoids.
It may interest you:
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.