As If We Need More Reasons to Love Chocolate
Chocolate lovers the world over could subsist on great memories of eating their favorite treat. While the creamy deliciousness is hard to forget, it’s possible the recollection remains sharp in part because chocolate itself helps with recall.
New research in the May 1 edition of Appetite (2016; 100, 126–32) revealed that subjects who ate chocolate at least once per week performed better on multiple cognitive tasks, compared with those who ate chocolate less frequently.
The multi-institutional collaboration used data from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS), an investigation that has tracked more than 1,000 people over 30 years and has measured a range of health variables. For the chocolate study, scientists looked at whether habitual chocolate intake was associated with cognitive function (brain function—memory, concentration, reasoning, information processing) in 968 MSLS subjects. It found that those who ate chocolate at least once per week (or more) did better on a variety of cognitive tasks. Measures included verbal memory, scanning and tracking, visual-spatial memory and organization, and abstract reasoning, including testing the ability to remember and recall a list of words or remember where an object was placed, and then retain the information, process it and subsequently recall it.
“With the exception of working memory, these relations were not attenuated with statistical control for cardiovascular, lifestyle and dietary factors,” explained Georgina Crichton, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in the school of health sciences at the University of South Australia. “This means that irrespective of factors including age, sex, education, cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, total energy and alcohol intake, the relationship between chocolate intake and cognition remained significant.”