As the long weekend comes to a close, most of us will admit that we have overindulged in sweet treats, but there’s no need to fear just yet – recent research suggests that chocolate may actually have some amazing benefits for your mood and cognitive health. As if you needed another reason to indulge in one more chocolate egg…
A recent review by Socci and colleagues from the University of L’Aquila, Italy, found that cocoa and cocoa-derived products had many health benefits, including reducing the risk of cognitive decline and improving and retaining areas such as memory, attention and processing speed. This is thought to be because chocolate and other cocoa-products provide a rich source of flavanoids, a group of metabolites which appear to have positive effects on brain functioning. Foods such as dark chocolate, blueberries and lettuce are high in flavanoids, as well as antioxidants which can reduce ageing.
Although it is unclear how and why flavanoids have such an effect, research suggests at consistent improvements in cognitive performance and cardiovascular function in those who were given a cocoa supplement compared with those who were given a placebo. These findings suggest that cocoa may in future be used as a protective tool for individuals at risk of cognitive decline, as it appears to be a low-risk treatment, which is cheap and relatively accessible.
So, before you beat yourself up about eating too much this Easter, consider that you may have actually done your brain a favour (even if your waistband isn’t thanking you right now)

Source: Dr Julian Existing Website feed

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