New study suggests chocolate may be a good brain booster for kids

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Too many sweets and sugar may be bad for your kid’s health. But what if chocolate, one of the most sugary sweets out there, is actually good for your child’s cognitive development?

According to a new study published on Scientific Reports, chocolates rich with the chemical, flavanol, have been found to be beneficial for the brain. 

Cocoa flavanols and its benefits

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There have been past studies that looked into how foods with flavanols are good for our vascular functions, but this is the first one to discover its benefits on brain vascular function and cognitive performance. 

Experts have found that flavanols can be found in many foods including fruits, vegetables and – you’ve guessed it – chocolates! 

That is why for this new study, researchers sought out to find whether flavanols could also have positive effects on cognitive function. 

How the study was conducted

For the study, 18 healthy adults were brought in to participate in two trials. One involved eating processed cocoa that was low in flavanols, while the other trial had the participants eat chocolates that were filled with the chemical. 

Afterwards, researchers asked them to participate in challenging, complex cognitive tasks. Meanwhile, they also looked into the oxygenation in their frontal cortex.

The results showed that most of the participants got to finish the complex tasks 11 per cent faster and even had improved oxygenation after consuming flavanol-rich chocolates.

They also noted that there were only four of them who showed no significant change during the test. Catarina Rendeiro, a researcher from the University of Illinois, suggested that this was because the participants already “had the highest oxygenation responses at baseline.”

Even with a small number of participants for the study, researchers still got to find possible links between chocolate filled with flavanols and a person’s cognitive improvement.

What chocolates to look for

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Of course, we’re not telling you to start piling up stacks of chocolate for your child. Although, if you’re looking for a good brain booster snack for your child while they’re studying, you may consider adding chocolates to your food list. 

Dark chocolates especially would be great, though kids usually don’t have a particular liking for them. In this case, you can start looking for other chocolates rich with flavanols as long as they have epicatechin, catechin and procyanidins.

You may also consider cocoa powder as it has a high percentage of flavonols. This is usually used to make chocolate pudding or a cup of hot cocoa which your child would certainly enjoy.

This article was first published in theAsianparent.