Chocolate. The magic word is chocolate. There are very few people in the world that don’t like arguably the king of all desserts, as besides the fact that it is delicious, it also offers a large variety of health benefits, as long as you consume it in moderation. A team of researchers from the University of Maine, the Luxembourg Institute of Health, and the University of South Australia performed a meta-analysis showing that cognitive function is improved by regular chocolate intake.
If you have a sweet tooth and chocolate happens to be your favorite snack, then boy, have I got some news for you! A team of researchers composed of members from three countries have looked at previous study results using participants from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study and found out something important.
By looking at the data of 968 participants aged 23 through 98, the researchers analyzed their dietary habits. The participants were asked to report their dietary habits related to foods like pasta, meat, rice, vegetable, fruit, chocolate, alcohol, coffee, water, and many others.
They were then asked to complete multiple tests that measured their cognitive functions. The results revealed that chocolate was liked to an overall increased test performance in various areas like working memory, scanning, abstract reasoning, organization, and visual and spatial memory.
A small-scale mental state examination also showed more favorable results from chocolate eaters. Consumed in moderate amounts, chocolate does not affect cardiovascular health, and consumed regularly, according to the study, it can protect against natural, age-related, cognitive weakening.
As an observational study, the researchers only found a link, not necessarily a cause-effect relationship. This might suggest that instead of chocolate protecting against cognitive weakening, people that take a longer time to lose their cognitive functions particularly enjoy chocolate. The answer is most likely the first version, however.
Other health benefits
Over the ages, chocolate had a whole slew of health benefits attributed to it – it was believed to treat fever, clean the teeth, increase libido, help with sleeping issues, and even to lower mood swings. Increased production of milk in breastfeeding mothers was also attributed to chocolate.
Scientifically, previous studies have shown chocolate to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular accidents – strokes and heart attacks – and to protect the skin against the sun. It was also proven to reduce cholesterol, help with weight loss, and even to improve blood circulation.
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