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Brain and Mental Performance Functional Foods Nutrition

Dark Chocolate Boosts Attention

8 years, 5 months ago

13508  0
Posted on Feb 24, 2016, 6 a.m.

Eating dark chocolate containing 60% cacao makes the brain more alert and attentive.

Eating dark chocolate may help to boost attention levels and lower blood pressure. Larry Stevens, a professor of psychological sciences at North Arizona University, and colleagues conducted a study to examine the acute effects of chocolate on attentional characteristics of the brain. The researchers examined the effect that consuming a 60 % cacao chocolate had on the brain (using electroencephalography [EEG]) and blood pressure. A total of 122 participants aged 18-25 were enrolled on the study. Results showed that eating 60% cacao chocolate made the brain more alert and attentive, but it also increased blood pressure for a short time. However, an immediate drop in blood pressure was recorded in participants who consumed 60% cacao chocolate that also contained L-theanine (an amino acid analogue found in green tea). "Chocolate is indeed a stimulant and it activates the brain in a really special way," said Professor Stevens. "It's remarkable. The potential here is for a heart healthy chocolate confection that contains a high level of cacao with L-theanine that is good for your heart, lowers blood pressure and helps you pay attention.”

Montopoli M, Stevens L, Smith CJ, Montopoli G, Passino S, Brown S, et al. The acute electrocortical and blood pressure effects of chocolate. NeuroRegulation. 2015;2:3–28.

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