Food foundation

The secret power of chocolate

It’s four in the afternoon and you have that report to go through and you keep repeating to yourself: “If I could just lie down for a pennichella (an afternoon nap…).” Now, before you go to the office’s kitchen to make yourself another cup of coffee, or fall asleep at your desk, try a small dark chocolate bar instead. In fact, according to a new research published on “NeuroRegulation”, cacao has the ability to boost the brain’s alertness.

Larry Stevens Ph.D., and his team conducted this study at Northern Arizona University. 122 study participants underwent an EEG, a process where the activities of the brain are recorded by placing electrodes on the scalp. Now, before you sprint to the vending machine at your office, and stuff your face with chocolate bars, hold on and keep reading.

In order to become more attentive at executing cognitive tasks, you should consume a chocolate bar with at least 60% cacao. I am afraid, consuming a chocolate bar high in sugar and milk will certainly not be as good. So, an hour after consuming a bar with a high content of cacao, your brain should register a boost in focus and alertness.

The most interesting result was from a group of participants who ate a 60% cacao chocolate bar with L-theanin, an amino acid that is found in green tea and promotes a feeling of calm and relaxation. In fact, L-theanin, which acts as a relaxant, lowers the blood pressure into a normal range, without generating drowsiness.

Don’t look for chocolate with L-theanin in the aisle of Coles or Woolworth’s as this product is not available as yet. But, why not accompany your treat (recipe on the left) with a cup of green tea to increase calm and attentiveness?


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