Caffè mochas are not only delicious but they can also improve attention span, according to a new study.
People who drank hot chocolate were found to have increased blood flow to the brain, resulting in increased cognitive function and attention.
While caffeine alone was found to increase anxiety, when teamed with hot chocolate, the effects were lessened and the end result was improved attention span overall, researchers found.
They concluded that “cocoa and caffeine are good choices for students and anyone else who needs to improve sustained attention”.
Ali Boolani, assistant professor of physical therapy and physician assistant studies at Clarkson University, New York, teamed up with the University of Georgia to examine the effects of brewed cocoa consumption on attention, motivation to work and feelings of anxiety, energy and fatigue.
In a study that ran for almost a year, test subjects drank brewed cocoa, cocoa with caffeine, caffeine without cocoa, and a placebo with neither caffeine nor cocoa.
They were then asked to do tests to evaluate both cognitive tasks and mood.
The results found that those who drank cocoa made fewer errors due to lack of attention. When caffeine was added into the mix, these cognitive effects were enhanced.
“It was a really fun study,” Boolani said. “Cocoa increases cerebral blood flow, which increases cognition and attention. Caffeine alone can increase anxiety. This particular project found that cocoa lessens caffeine’s anxiety-producing effects - a good reason to drink mocha lattes!”
He added that the results of the tests are “definitely promising” and “show that cocoa and caffeine are good choices for students and anyone else who needs to improve sustained attention”.
Boolani added that he’ll conduct follow-up studies to look at the differences in effects on brain function between natural and synthetic caffeine.