The effect of chocolate and cocoa on cognitive performance

March 29, 2023

There has recently been increasing evidence supporting the beneficial role of dark chocolate, cocoa and cocoa products on human cognition. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has a high content of flavonoids and theobromine which has been proven to be a promising food for cardiovascular and metabolic health, in addition to having a positive impact on cognitive performance.

Findings from individual studies confirm that both acute and chronic cocoa intake has a positive effect on several cognitive outcomes. After eating dark chocolate, it was seen that there was an increase in cerebral blood flow or cerebral blood oxygenation, as well as increased levels of neurotrophins (which help maintain the function of neurons). 

It was also suggested that cocoa possesses the potential to counteract cognitive decline and sustain cognitive abilities, particularly in those at risk of cognitive decline with a predisposition to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  

Research investigating the relationship between cocoa and cognition shows dose-dependent improvements in general cognition, attention, processing speed and working memory. Moreover, cocoa flavanols are thought to enhance normal cognitive functioning and exert a protective role on cognitive performance and cardiovascular function in young, healthy bodied adults. 

Together, these findings converge at pointing to cocoa as a new tool to protect human cognition and counteract different types of cognitive decline. 

Source 1: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm

Source 2: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.