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Chocolate-Lovers, May I Have Your Attention

Researchers behind a new chocolate study have concluded that dark chocolate containing only moderate amounts (60%) of cacao have an acute stimulating effect on the human brain.

This new study shows it can increase attention in an acute (immediate) manner. The results were obtained by using electroencephalography, or EEG technology, which takes images of the brain (a measure of brain activity) while performing a cognitive task

For this study, the researchers enlisted 122 participants between the ages of 18 and 25 to consume one of three chocolate treatments:
  1. higher (60%) cacao chocolate
  2. low (0%) cacao chocolate, or
  3. higher cacao chocolate + L-theanine (this third group was to measure how L-theanine impacts blood pressure in response to chocolate consumption)
All the treatments were based on individually-wrapped 40 g squares of chocolate with identical appearance.

The results for the participants who consumed the 60% cacao chocolate showed that the brain was more alert and attentive after consumption. Their blood pressure also increased for a short time.

“A lot of us in the afternoon get a little fuzzy and can’t pay attention, particularly students, so we could have a higher cacao content chocolate bar and it would increase attention,” the lead researcher said. He added that a regular chocolate bar with high sugar and milk content won’t be as good, it’s the high-cacao content chocolate that can be found from most manufacturers that will have these effects.

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Source: The Acute Electrocortical and Blood Pressure Effects of Chocolate

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