Drinking more cocoa can make one smarter – this is revealed in a recent study that cocoa can increase mental agility.
This is mainly because of flavanols, a group of molecules found in fruit and vegetables. The study, published in Scientific Reports, said that flavanols are present in abundant in cocoa, apples, grapes tea and berries.
Everyone knows the beneficial effect of Flavanols on cardiovascular health. However, the effects on health of brain were not known yet. This is the first time that the effect of flavanols on brain function has come out, claimed Catarina Rendeiro, who led the research.
Renderio is a researcher and lecturer in nutritional sciences at the University of Birmingham. Professors Monica Fabiani and Gabriele Gratton of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign psychology also collaborated in the research.
Catarina Rendeiro said that they used cocoa in their experiment. The researchers mentioned that flavanol was widely present in several fruits. The researchers said that 18 males aged between 18 and 40 were chosen for the test. They underwent a procedure to challenge the blood circulation in the brain. The researchers tracked the brain using a non-invasive near infrared spectroscopy. This technique uses light to capture changes in blood oxygenation levels.
The researchers conducted the test on the participants before and after having a drink containing cocoa. In one of the occasions, the drink was enriched with flavanols. After the carbon dioxide test, they were asked to undergo a number of complex cognitive tests. The researchers found that the participants who had taken the flavanol enriched drink had the highest levels of blood oxygenation in response to hypercapnia. It reached levels up to three times higher than those who did not drink flavanol enriched drink.
In cognitive tests, they came across many differences in the speed and accuracy with which volunteers completed the higher complexity tasks. Flavanols are small molecules present in cocoa and several fruits and vegetables. These molecules give fruits and vegetables bright colors.