If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who consumes chocolate on a regular basis then you’re in luck. Research has found that eating dark chocolate can not only satisfy your sweet tooth but also improve your mood, memory, focus, and even immune system.That’s right — new studies in the field of neuroscience have shown that high-potency cacao can have significant effects on your brain and body, even at seemingly low doses; just a serving or two a day may be enough to boost your cognition, blood pressure, mood, and more. In this blog post, we explore just a few of the many brain-boosting benefits of dark chocolate, and why this delicious treat is a must-have for any health-savvy consumer’s snack drawer.
Dark Chocolate Improves Blood Flow to the Brain
Flavonoids, a type of chemical found in plants, are responsible for many of the cognitive and physical health benefits of dark chocolate. Flavonoids exist naturally in chocolate but, because they are bitter, they are often removed in the manufacturing process. This is why those looking to get the maximum health benefits from dark chocolate should opt for products made from at least 70 percent cacao.
One of the main ways that flavonoids work is by increasing blood flow. A Harvard Medical School study found that drinking two cups of hot chocolate rich in flavonoids increased blood flow to the brain for 2-3 hours, which, in turn, improved scores on a working memory speed test by a whopping 30 percent. Increased cerebral flow is especially important for seniors, as it may help prevent mental decline.
Dark Chocolate Includes Magnesium, Which Is Known to Reduce Stress
Consuming an adequate amount of magnesium each day is essential for maintaining good physical and mental health. Unfortunately, most American adults don’t even come close to the National Institutes of Health’s recommended daily dose. Magnesium has many health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, helping prevent inflammation, reducing insulin resistance, and more. One of the primary benefits of magnesium, however, is that it can suppress the body’s release of the stress hormone cortisol, thereby helping to relieve conditions such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety. In fact, magnesium is so good at combating anxiety and stress that it’s often been called “nature’s Valium.”
Getting a proper amount of magnesium from food alone can be difficult. While magnesium supplements, such as our Magnesium Complex, are available, one of the easiest and most delicious ways that you can get enough magnesium is by eating dark chocolate, which contains a substantial amount of the dietary mineral. In fact, one dark chocolate bar can contain half of your daily magnesium requirement! If you find yourself constantly craving chocolate, then this may be your body’s way of telling you that you have a magnesium deficiency.
Dark Chocolate Supports Your Gut
At BIPRI, we know that having good gut bacteria, collectively known as your gut microbiota, is essential for your health. While taking our BIPRI Probiotic Blend is one great way to support your gut health, you might also want to supplement your daily probiotic with some nutritious and delicious dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has been shown to increase beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, in your intestine. These bacteria act as antioxidants, helping protect your brain from free radical damage, which can lead to degenerative conditions, such as dementia.
Dark Chocolate Improves Cognitive Function
Dark chocolate has been shown to significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment, as well as young, healthy adults. The reasons for this are manifold. For one, dark chocolate contains more than 30 percent of the daily recommended intake for potassium, which is known to improve focus. Secondly, chocolate contains significant amounts of the natural stimulant caffeine, which can greatly improve cognitive function in the short term, as many a coffee addict can tell you. Furthermore, dark chocolate has been shown to increase gamma waves across multiple areas of the brain. Increased gamma waves enhance neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself, particularly in response to injury and/or disease.
Snack Smarter With Dark Chocolate!
Dark chocolate truly deserves the title “brain food.” By protecting the brain against oxidation and other damaging processes, it helps keep you functional, focused, and fit. To get the most benefits, however, it is important that you choose as dark a chocolate as possible, ideally one containing at least 70% cacao; the higher the cacao content the more things that are good for you, like flavonoids and antioxidants, and the less things that aren’t, like sugar. If you’re looking for a change of pace from the usual bar, give cacao nibs a try. These precursors to chocolate are significantly less processed than chocolate bars and contain no added sugar, making them superior in terms of brain benefits.
Unfortunately, optimizing your brain health requires more than just eating dark chocolate. Thanks to BIPRI, however, improving your brain and body performance is simpler than ever before. Our brain-boosting products include customer favorites such as our Kids Probiotic Chewables, 4-Motor Headband, Memory & Focus Boost Bundle, and more, so that you and your family can enjoy optimum brain performance, whether you’re recovering from an injury or simply looking to improve your everyday brain health. Ready to get started? Browse our brain support tools, programs, foods, and supplements today!