Your Brain on Chocolate

As if I need another reason to enjoy cocoa-rich morsels, I came across an article in the New England Journal of Medicine that concludes chocolate consumption enhances cognitive function and may help you become a Nobel laureate.

Studies have suggested that dietary flavanoids may improve cognitive function. A subclass of flavonoids, called flavanols, which are widely present in cocoa, green tea, red wine, and some fruits, seem to be effective in slowing down or even reversing the reductions in cognitive performance that occur with aging. In this analysis, Dr. Franz H. Messerli reported on the correlation between a country’s level of chocolate consumption and its population’s cognitive function. Although Dr. Messerli identifies several study limitations, including unknown specific chocolate intake of each Nobel laureate and unknown cumulative dose of chocolate that is required to increase the odds of getting that phone call from Sweden, he still found a significant linear correlation (r2=0.791, P < .0001) between chocolate consumption per capita and the number of Nobel laureates per 10 million persons in a total of 23 countries.

“It remains to be determined whether the consumption of chocolate is the underlying mechanism for the observed association with improved cognitive function.”…If anyone out there would like to further investigate this mechanism, I would volunteer as a study participant…as long as I wasn’t in the placebo group.

Reference: F.H. Messerli, N Eng J Med (2012).


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