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Eating Chocolate Regularly Linked To Better Brain Function

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Great news for all chocoholics! A new study has found that eating chocolate regularly is linked to improved brain function regardless of other dietary practices.

Researchers from the Luxembourg Institute of Health, University of South Australia and University of Maine analyzed the data of an earlier study that measured the dietary intake and cardiovascular disease risks of New Yorkers. The 968 study participants, who took part in the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study, were between ages 23 and 98 years old.

The participants were asked about their consumptions of several food including meat, vegetables, fruits, pasta, rice, and snacks like chocolate. Consumption of alcohol, water and coffee were also documented. The participants also completed a series of tests that measured their cognitive function.

The team found that frequent consumption of chocolate was linked to better tests performance, including abstract reasoning, tracking and scanning, working memory, visual-spatial memory and organization as well as mini-mental state examination.

"With the exception of Working Memory, these relations were not attenuated with statistical control for cardiovascular, lifestyle and dietary factors," said the researchers who suggested that regular consumption of chocolate can aid in the protection of natural, age-related cognitive weakening.

They also highlighted chocolate's other great benefits. If not scientifically, chocolate has historically been known to treat diarrhea in children, treat fever, increase libido, promote better sleep and clean the teeth. Chocolate is also believed to lower mood swings and increase production of breast milk in women.

Past scientific studies also connected chocolate to reduced stroke risks and skin protection against sun damage. Chocolate is known to improve blood circulation, reduce cholesterol and aid in weight loss.

In early 2015, a separate study found a way to transform the heart-healthy powers of cacao into a pill form. The promising research could pave the way for the birth of chocolate with medicinal value. However, chocolate indulgence in a pill still doesn't sound as satisfying as biting into a bar of chocolate.

More studies are required to analyze the deeper connections between cognition, cocoa flavanols and chocolates.

The study was published on Feb. 9 in the Appetite journal.

Photo: Olga Filonenko | Flickr

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