Chocolate May Be Better Than Exercise For Your Brain Health, If You Eat An Awful Lot Of It, Study Suggests

Chocolate May Be Better For Your Brain Health Than Exercise
Aimee Herring

It's the news we've all been hoping for in the run up to Easter - chocolate may actually be better for our health than exercise.

Well, our brain health, at least.

A recent study has linked chocolate to improved memory and increased blood flow in an area of the brain.

Scientists from Columbia University and New York University gave volunteers between the ages of 50 and 69 a specially formulated drink containing flavanols extracted from cocoa powder.

Half the participants were given a small dose of flavanols, and half a large dose, for a total of three months.

Those who received a high dose were reported to have higher memory function scores than those who had a low dose.

Sadly, some have raised concerns that the results of the study really are too good to be true.

Writing for Oxford University Press, Gary L. Wenk says the study suggests exercise had no effect on participants, but this is unlikely to be true.

He also points out that in reality, people would have to eat an awful lot of chocolate to consume the amount of flavanols the participants did in the higher dose category.

"The subjects in this study consumed a specially prepared commercial product that contained about one gram of flavanols every day for three months. One hundred grams of cocoa powder usually contains about 100 milligrams of flavanols," he writes.

"These values suggest that you would need to eat about one kilogram of pure unrefined cocoa powder or about 44 pounds of chocolate candy every day."

In other words, eating a lot of chocolate may improve your memory, but it won't do wonders for your weight.

The Columbia University and New York University study isn't the first to suggest chocolate may have some health benefits.

A previous study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating a small amount of chocolate could reduce your risk of heart disease.

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