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Drowning in Work? Get a Dark Chocolate Brain Boost

By Sandy Schroeder 

When deadlines loom and inspiration won’t come, dark chocolate may save the day. Yes, it’s true. Researchers are now saying dark chocolate may give your brain, eyes and immune system a boost, according to a report on Good Morning America.

Targeting brain performance - Food science expert Dr. Lee Berk, from Loma Linda (Calif.) University, had volunteers eat 1.5 ounce dark chocolate bars and studied their brain waves on an electroencephalogram, EEG machine. Thirty minutes after they ate the bars, participants showed an increase in gamma waves which points to the highest level of thought. Nibble some dark chocolate and see how it works for you. If your gamma waves fire on all cylinders, your latest projects may, too.

Seeing more clearly now -  Another study in JAMA Ophthalmology took a look at the effects of dark and milk chocolate’s effect on vision. Thirty people ate chocolate bars; vision tests two hours later indicated the ones who ate dark chocolate had small improvements in vision. They were also better able to see objects in low light or high glare situations, which can be crucial for night driving. Researchers believe cacao, the main ingredient in dark chocolate, affects blood pressure and blood vessel function, improving blood flow to the back of the eye for better vision.

Fighting off germs - Dr. Berk did another small study to see how dark chocolate affects the immune system. Scientists studied the blood work of participants who ate dark chocolate bars. They found an increase in anti-inflammatory markers and infection-fighting T cells. That’s all good news for immune systems.

Make Dark Chocolate Work for You

This doesn't mean go out and get whatever chocolate you want. It’s important to note that all of the dark chocolate eaten had a 70 percent cacao content, only leaving room for 30 percent of sugar. If your favorite chocolate bar has 11 percent cacao, that means there is probably 89 percent left for sugar and fat, and that won’t give you the brain, vision, or immune system boost you want.

On the other hand you can buy dark chocolate cocoa and begin to mix it into smoothies, hot oats, or plain Greek yogurt to up your intake of cacao. Read the labels as you go.

Where the Future May Go

Dr. Berk is planning to continue his brain research to see if cacao’s brain effects could be used to treat diseases like autism and dementia. If you love chocolate as much as I do, dark chocolate may be an easy transition. Or course, all additional research is definitely welcome. I have been eating chocolate bars whenever I could since I was a child and it’s nice to know I can keep right on going, allowing for cacao and calorie counts.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Schaumburg, Ill. 

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