Eating Chocolate Sharpens Your Brain, Study Finds

It tastes really good, too.

Chocolate is the world’s greatest pleasure—7.2 million tons of chocolate was consumed worldwide in 2009, according to Statista. And recent studies have supported ancient beliefs that chocolate can reduce fever, treat diarrhea, encourage sleep, and even boost cardiovascular health.

But now there may be an indication that chocolate can help you mentally.Researchers at the University of Maine have found that chocolate intake is associated with improved cognitive function.

Tracking 968 participants ages 23-98, the researchers found that “more frequent chocolate consumption was significantly associated with better performance” in a number of cognitive tests, including Visual-Spatial Memory and Organization, Working Memory, Scanning and Tracking, Abstract Reasoning, and the Mini-Mental State Examination.

The authors explain that the findings support recent clinical trials suggesting that regular intake of cocoa flavanols may protect against age-related cognitive decline. Given the limited treatments for widespread mental afflictions like forgetfulness and dementia, chocolate may be a delicious treatment, the authors propose. They write, “Adopting dietary patterns to delay or slow the onset of cognitive decline is an appropriate avenue.”