Throughout history many cultures globally have recognized the medicinal effects of chocolate. The Mesoamericans used chocolate to treat an assortment of ailments as far back as 600 B.C., a precious and scarce commodity, only reserved for priests, government officials and royalty. Throughout history we've witnessed the waxing and waning popularity of chocolate. Fast forward several thousand years, our scientific interests are peaked yet again. Heated debates have occurred over this delectable treat and it's health benefits. Delicious treat? Of course! Notable health benefits? Questionable until now.
Recently, scientists have a new found interest in chocolate and its components as a nutraceutical. Two components in particular that are gaining popularity for their positive health effects are polyphenols and flavonoids both components of dark chocolate.
Robust systematic reviews have unearthed eight studies showing components of chocolate having improved effects upon mood. Of these, three of which show clear evidence of cognitive enhancement with the use of cocoa flavonoids and two studies showing acute cognitive improvement with the use of cocoa polyphenols.Polyphenols are known to increase cerebral blood flow and provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect.
Polyphenols are found in coffee, tea, berries, nuts and other foods. Flavanoids improve circulation, specifically microcirculation in the cerebral vasculature. They also provide neuroprotective properties and are found in most fruit and veggie source. Makes sense right?!
Long-term consumption of cocoa shows cognitive performance in the area of processing, attention and working memory! Choosing those sweet treats with the highest levels of cacao are best and of course GMO free and organic. So enjoy those brain sharpening, mood boosting treats daily...I know that I will! Doctor's orders!