Today in Studies We Want to Believe: Eating dark chocolate can make people smarter, according to two studies by scientists at Loma Linda University. Researchers at the School of Allied Health Professions did EEGs to measure brain activity after feeding five people 48 grams of 70 percent cacao.
“If you’re looking for a rationalization or justification for eating more chocolate, you’re probably going to find it in this study,” Dr. Jen Ashton said on Good Morning America.
But, really, aren’t we all looking for justification in unwrapping a bar after a meal or as an afternoon pick-me-up? If making a change as small as switching from milk chocolate to 70 percent dark can help improve mood or brain function — well then that’s an easy switch.
“For years, we have looked at the influence of dark chocolate on neurological functions from the standpoint of sugar content — the more sugar, the happier we are,” said Dr. Lee S. Berk, the associate dean of research affairs for Loma Linda’s School of Allied Health Professions and the principal investigator for both studies. “This is the first time that we have looked at the impact of large amounts of cacao in doses as small as a regular-sized chocolate bar in humans over short or long periods of time, and are encouraged by the findings. These studies show us that the higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on cognition, memory, mood, immunity and other beneficial effects.”
Sure, cutting back on alcohol and sugar consumption or increasing exercise could also provide a positive impact on brain function – but that’s not as easy as unwrapping a Ghirardelli.
In other studies — with sample sizes larger than five — dark chocolate has previously been shown to be an antioxidant and have a positive impact on heart health. So in fact, we can come up with at least 20 reasons to eat dark chocolate every day.