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Chocolate can improve Brain Function, Study Finds

Update Date: Feb 23, 2016 10:43 AM EST

There is another reason to eat chocolate!

According to a new study, chocolate can help improve brain function. For this research, the team headed by Georgie Crichton of the Sansom Institute for Health at the University of South Australia set out to examine the effects of regularly eating chocolate on cognitive function.

"Chocolate and cocoa flavanols have been associated with improvements in a range of health complaints dating from ancient times, and have established cardiovascular benefits, but less is known about the effects of chocolate on neurocognition and behavior," Crichton said reported by WebMD.

The researchers examined brain function via a series of tests in 968 participants who either ate chocolate regularly or did not. The participants came from another long-term health study. After factoring several variables, which included cholesterol, blood pressure, alcohol consumption, age, sex and education, the researchers found that people who ate more chocolate had better brain function.

"More frequent chocolate consumption was significantly associated with better performance on [tests including] Visual-Spatial Memory and Organization, Working Memory, Scanning and Tracking, Abstract Reasoning, and the Mini-Mental State Examination," researchers said reported by The Telegraph. "With the exception of Working Memory, these relations were not attenuated with statistical control for cardiovascular, lifestyle and dietary factors."

Although the team could not pinpoint why chocolate appeared to improve mental skills, they argued that the flavonoids found in cocoa beans might be protecting the brain. The team noted that despite their findings, people should still maintain a healthy diet.

"Of course chocolate intake should be considered within an overall healthy eating pattern, with consideration given to total energy intake and an individual's energy needs," Crichton said.

The study was published in the journal, Appetite.

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