‘Want To Be Smarter? Eat Chocolate!

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Chocolate consumption can make you smarter? A new study says ‘yes’. (Photo: ALAMAY)

A recently published study showing that chocolate consumption can make you smarter – yes, make you smarter! – revealed a ‘who woulda thunk it’ fact: Women — those in this study, anyway — eat more chocolate than men; At least the ones in this sample did!

That chocolate can enhance your mental and cognitive abilities – including math skillsis surprising. That women tend to eat more chocolate than men is sort of like saying men are more likely than women to urinate standing up!

The study described recently in the journal Appetite, was done in the U.S. between 2001 and 2006. It was an isolated and carefully calibrated sub-set of a study that began in the 1970’s to examine the cognitive abilities of close to 1,000 people, who were followed over a significant number of years.

The chocolate-related part of the study was done at the urging of  Georgina Crichton, a nutrition researcher at the University of South Australia. She recognized that the so-called Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS) presented a unique opportunity to examine the effects of chocolate on the brain because of its large sample, of slightly fewer than 1,000 individuals spanning a broad age spectrum.

Researchers have long known that chocolate consumption can help reduce one’s risk of strokes, reduces ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol levels while boosting ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol levels, can protect your skin against sun damage, can help you lose weight, reduces stress in mothers-to-be, reduces blood pressure,  and even help prevent diabetes. But Ms. Crichton’s research provided an exciting new reason to enjoy one of the world’s favorite sweets.

In 2009, 7.2 million tons of chocolate were consumed worldwide (Statista, 2015). Commonly associated with pleasure and enjoyment, chocolate is a frequently ‘craved’ food, possibly due to its rich natural complexity that provides a sweet taste. Its high carbohydrate and fat content and highly palatable orosensory qualities, obtained from its specific constituents, may all contribute to its appeal as a ‘comfort’ food, various sources say. (See above-cited sources.)

It’s a good bet that sectors of the food industry will do what they can to exploit the MSLS and even statistics cited here to further promote chocolate-based products. And why wouldn’t they?

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