A Treat for Your Brain

Dark chocolate can markedly improve attention skills.

Shown by a number of previous studies to widen blood vessels and lower blood pressure (vasodilation), dark chocolate may also boost a person’s attention skills.  Larry C Stevens, from Northern Arizona University (Arizona, USA), and colleagues utilized electroencephalography (EEG) to observe the acute electrical changes in the brains of people after they consumed dark chocolate.  Enrolling 122 men and women, ages 18 to 25 years, a subgroup of subjects were assigned to consume chocolate containing 60% cacao.   The subsequent EEG study showed that the dark chocolate raised brain characteristics of attention. The study authors write that: “This is the first known study to investigate acute EEG effects of consuming chocolate and suggests a potential attention-enhancing effect.”

Michelle Montopoli, Larry C Stevens, Constance Smith, George Montopoli, Stephanie Passino, Somer Brown, Lena Camou, Katie Carson, Shannon Maaske, Kathleen Knights, William Gibson, Joyce Wu. “The Acute Electrocortical and Blood Pressure Effects of Chocolate.” Neuro Regulation, vol. 2 No 1 (2015).