Studies have increasingly documented the potential health benefits of habitual consumption. Earlier this month, for example, Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting that eating chocolate daily during pregnancy may benefit fetal growth and development, while an earlier study claims daily chocolate consumption may lower risk of stroke and heart disease. According to Dr. Georgie Crichton, of the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre at the University of South Australia, and colleagues in a study published in the journal Appetite, Little has been known about the relationship between chocolate and cognitive functioning or brain health. In a study which was led by study coauthor Prof. Merrill Elias, of the University of Maine, in which cognitive function of participants was assessed through a series of tasks that tested visual-spatial memory and organization (the ability to understand and remember spatial relations among objects), working memory (the ability to process new and existing information), verbal memory (the ability to remember words and other factors related to language) and scanning and tracking (the ability to focus on specific objects), the researchers found a significant association between the frequent consumption of chocolate and cognitive function of the participants. According to a report in MNT, Dr. Crichton, while explaining the result of their findings, pointed out that cocoa contains flavanols that improve blood flow to the brain, and chocolate also contains small amounts of caffeine, which can boost alertness.
Dr. Crichton admitted that majority of the majority of previous studies on the health benefits of
chocolate have focused on dark chocolate, due to its rich flavanol
content, but their study have included participants who
consumed dark, milk and white chocolate but Dr. Sotonwa believes that dark chocolate containing less
sugar is more beneficial. According to him, the high sugar content in some chocolates can
cause problems such as tooth decay, and prevent the cocoa from doing its
job, so choosing the proper chocolate is essential.
Dr. Kayode Sotonwa is an internist in Clearwater, Florida.