Good news for chocolate lovers: eating the sweet treat has been found to have a positive association with cognitive performance, according to a new study.
Published in the journal Appetite, researchers used data collected from a Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS), in which 968 people aged between 23 and 98 were measured for dietary intake and cardiovascular risk factors, as well as cognitive function.
The researchers found that regularly eating chocolate was significantly associated with cognitive function “irrespective of other dietary habits”.
More frequent chocolate consumption was “significantly associated with better performance on [cognitive tests including] visual-spatial memory and organisation, working memory, scanning and tracking, abstract reasoning, and the mini-mental state examination”.
Cocoa flavanols, a subgroup of flavonoids, which are found in chocolate, are associated with the positive cognitive function.
Chocolate 'can help keep you slim'
Chocolate 'can help keep you slim'
New research finds that our calorific and delicious friend chocolate might not be quite the demon the level of fat and sugar it contains would suggest. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that of nearly 1,000 American participants, those who ate chocolate a few times a week were slimmer, on average, than those who only ate it sporadically. Reasons for this surprising conclusion are not entirely clear, but there is a suggestion that chocolate contains chemicals which boost weight loss as opposed to fatty acid synthesis. Previous (totally unrelated) studies indicate that chocolate may also be good for the heart.
The chicken egg debate (no, not which came first) has been raging for many years. For ages it was thought that too many omelettes could have an adverse effect on cholesterol. We were told by health advisers to limit intake of eggs to around three a week. But then a University of Surrey study suggested that most people could eat as many eggs as they liked without damaging their health. It found that there was an “ingrained misconception” linking eating eggs to high cholesterol and heart disease. It’s Easter next week, so tuck in.
Full cream milk
The Skinny Latte generation might be perplexed to hear that opting for skimmed milk might not be the healthiest option available. While the fat content of full cream milk is not in question, and should be consumed sensibly, some of the fats, proteins and vitamins it contains may be beneficial to metabolism and can actually help you shed weight as well as providing essential nutrients, according to a study at Cardiff University.
This tasty bean-based beverage might have a reputation for being a nasty diuretic that leaves you jittery, caffeine high and with bad breath. But in moderation, coffee has been shown to have beneficial effects on our health. University of California cardiologists found there was no evidence, as had been thought, that coffee increased the risk of heart attack and, strikingly, discovered that in a study of 27,000 women over 15 years, one to three coffees a day reduced the risk of heart disease by nearly a quarter. Other studies found that a cup of coffee a day reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and possibly even diabetes. There are downsides to having consumption, including caffeine addiction and anxiety, and strong coffees are a risk to pregnant women.
Many people substitute 'red wine' for 'apple' in that old adage about one a day keeping the doctor away. Which might not be entirely left of the mark. According to research for the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College, London, a daily glass of red could help to treat lung disease. It has been linked to cancer prevention, reducing the harmful effects of smoking, fighting herpes and might even extend lifespan. It is, however, not advised to drink large quantities, and as with all alcohol, red wine should be consumed sensibly.
High levels of flavanols are found in dark chocolate but less so in milk or white chocolate. High levels of flavanols are also found in tea, red wine and certain fruits such as grapes and apples.
The researchers also stated the findings supported recent clinical trials that suggest “regular intake of cocoa flavanols may have a beneficial effect on cognitive function, and possibly protect against normal age-related cognitive decline”.
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