Brain Fuel: Food For Thought

Have you dreamed of the day when your doctor told you to nourish your brain with chocolate? Alas, many excellent doctors are starting to recommend replacing less healthy snacks with dark chocolate to support brain function and overall wellness. The evidence is compelling; cocoa flavanols in dark chocolate have been shown to brighten mood, reduce the risk of stroke and enhance cognition across a range of age groups, from college students to seniors. One fairly recent study of 37 healthy volunteers at Columbia University found that:

“If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months (900mg of cocoa flavanols per day) that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old,” said Dr. Small, the lead investigator at Columbia University. Small now aims to replicate the study results and test alternative doses in a larger study.  

Cocoa flavanols are thought to achieve health benefits by promoting healthy blood flow to the brain and throughout your body. But many successful studies of cocoa flavanols, particularly of brain function, tested flavanol levels ranging from 500 to 1,000mg per day, the equivalent of 5 or more standard dark chocolate bars! So choose your chocolate wisely if you are looking for both health benefits and indulgence.

Sometimes dreams do come true!