Does eating chocolate makes you smarter? According to psychologist Merrill Elias, this is indeed the case. Elias is a lead researcher on a recent study published in the journal Appetite. He told the Washington Post about the study’s remarkable conclusion that chocolate consumption can indeed make you smarter. The study was done over the course of 40 years, starting in the mid-1970s. Elias, along with Georgina Crichton, a nutrition researcher at the University of South Australia, said that there is a significant difference between people who eat chocolate at least once a week and those who do this less than once a week and that it strongly affects cognitive ability. The effect is especially recognisable when it comes to daily tasks, “such as remembering a phone number, or your shopping list, or being able to do two things at once, like talking and driving at the same time.”
What is the definition of a drug? Most would agree that it means medicine or any other substance that has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. Well, there you go—chocolate clearly is a drug by those standards. It not only makes you feel better but it also improves your memory and stimulates your abstract thinking. But you have to inject it at least once a week. Into your mouth that is.
So why does chocolate make you smarter? Elias doesn’t have the ultimate answer, but he does have some ideas. He knows that the natural flavanols in cacao can reduce cognitive dysfunction due to aging and that the flavanols might increase blood flow to the brain, which can result in a positive influence on psychological processes. Chocolate also contains theobromine, an important alkaloid in cacao. Theobromine increases urine production, it can treat high blood pressure, and it shows promise for tooth decay prevention. But best of all, it makes you feel good (as long as you consume chocolate in small portions).
There is also another very interesting catch when it becomes to health benefits of chocolate: antioxidants.
It is believed that antioxidants fight the damaging effects of oxidative stress on cells within the body and have many heart-healthy properties. Two groups of antioxidants in particular, polyphenols and flavonols, which are found in various fruits and seeds, have been the focus of much research due to their potentially healthy effects.
FOOD OF THE GODS
Blueberries are the king when it comes to so-called super food with high amounts of antioxidants. But cacao powder is beating the blueberries. With one important side-note: this is the case for non-dutched cacao powder (dutched cacao powder is cacao that has been treated with a potassium solution to neutralize the acidity). This non-dutched cacao powder seems to have at least siz times more antioxidants than blueberries.
But if you eat raw cacao beans directly out of the cacao pods - the so-called 'wet beans' - then the amount of antioxidants would surpass the amount of antioxidants in blueberries. Truly a food of the gods.