Does Drinking Cocoa Make You Smarter? (If So, Santa Must Be A Genius.)
Flavanols — small molecules found in many fruits and vegetables, and also cocoa — were found to help improve brain function in a recent study. So yeah, cocoa might make you smarter, but so will carrots and other brightly colored vegetables and fruits.
But getting smarter AND drinking cocoa? Sounds like a win-win. (And it could also explain how Santa can correctly deliver all those presents in a single night.)
The brains of healthy adults recovered faster from a mild vascular challenge and performed better on complex tests if the participants consumed cocoa flavanols beforehand, researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports. In the study, 14 of 18 participants saw these improvements after ingesting the flavanols.
Previous studies have shown that eating foods rich in flavanols can benefit vascular function, but this is the first to find a positive effect on brain vascular function and cognitive performance in young healthy adults, said Catarina Rendeiro, a researcher and lecturer in nutritional sciences at the University of Birmingham who led the research with University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign psychology professors Monica Fabiani and Gabriele Gratton.