Chocolate, a popular “Brain Food”
Chocolates are liked and loved by everyone. But sometimes we feel guilty of having it because we think that it causes harm to our body. There have been many scientific research publications enlisting the pros and cons of chocolate consumption, and this article will discuss some of those recent facts about chocolates. But we are glad to tell you that it has got a number of health benefits. Let’s learn some, such that the next time when you have one you should not feel sad about it.
Dark chocolates, when consumed in a limited amount, have got many health benefits. Nowadays they are considered as anti-aging, an anti-inflammatory superfood for the brain and body. Studies and researches prove that chocolates have benefited a lot in the domain of the cognitive function, mood, heart, and blood vessel health. If taken regularly and in the right amount, they keep our cardiovascular system pumping, make our mind sharp and fast as well as keep our mood calm and healthy.
Why is Chocolate considered Healthy Food?
Chocolate finds its birth from the finely ground seeds of the obroma cacao tree. The raw seeds of this tree can’t be used to make it but are actually fermented & roasted to get it. If chocolate is labeled as “70 percent”, it means that it has 70 percent ground cacao and 30 percent sugar. This kind of chocolate is a good choice. The ground cacao is comprised of cacao butter along with ground parties of the cacao seed. The ground cacao also consists of a powerful mixture of phytochemical which has got a number of medicinal properties.
The primary phytochemicals in cacao are the polyphenols (mostly consists of flavanols and proanthocyanidins) and the methylxanthines (mostly theobromine). These compounds in the chocolate are the main cause for its therapeutic effects via their multiple effects in the body.
- Prevention of blood clots
- Blood vessel dilation
- Protection of nerve cells
- Reduction of insulin resistance
- Increased blood flow to the brain
- Regulation of genes that control body weight
- Inhibition of cancer growth
Because of these benefits researchers and scientists have proved that chocolate is used to fight against diseases of the brain as well as maintains the cardiovascular system in the body.
Benefits of Chocolate on Human Brain
- Relation of Chocolate with Mood – Chocolate helps in getting rid of depression and anxiety symptoms. Sometimes people encounter a situation when they don’t know what they are doing, and this kind of anxiety could overcome by consumption of dark chocolate. It also helps to achieve peace in mind, body, and soul. Both the compounds, i.e., the flavanols and methylxanthines are the main source for these mind-changing effects in our body. In an experiment, it has been found that a healthy subject felt calmer and satisfied after consuming dark chocolate drink daily containing a high amount of polyphenols. On the other hand drinking, a placebo chocolate drink which contains no polyphenols has got no effect on the mood of a person. Chocolates containing a high amount of polyphenol also improves depression and anxiety.
- Benefits of chocolate and cognitive function – According to the researchers when you consume chocolate, the flavanols get absorbed in your body. It is then accumulated in that brain region which stores all the memory, especially the hippocampus. These flavanols increase the blood flow to the brain, helps in the formation of new neurons, improves the functioning of neurons, enhance connections between neurons, and protect neurons from death by free radicals. The “Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA)” study, published in the medical journal Hypertension, showed that in elderly individuals, having mild cognitive impairment, who consumed a cocoa drink containing high flavanols levels daily for eight weeks faced a good improvement in them but those consuming drink of low flavanols levels did not. Thus every single dose of high-flavanol cocoa drink leads to an improvement on cognitive tests. In healthy adults, memory tests are also improved.
How to get the Brain Benefits of Chocolate?
To get the best out of the chocolate is by selecting a good dark chocolate or cocoa powder and consume it on a regular basis. Different types of chocolate have got a different amount of flavanols and methylxamines according to their use.
Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa has a lot of beneficial effects but those will less percentage has got a lesser therapeutic value.