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Wine, Tea, and Chocolate Improve Brain Performance

Updated on December 10, 2011

Wine, Tea, and Chocolate Improve Brian Performance

A study from December 2008 shows that wine, tea and chocolate all enhance cognitive performance.

The Study

A team of researchers from Oxford’s Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics in Norway examined the relationship between three common food items (wine, tea and chocolate) and cognitive performance in 2,031 older people (between the ages of 70 and 74).

The participants were asked to fill in information about their habitual food intake and then underwent a battery of cognitive test. Those who consumed wine, tea and chocolate had significantly better mean tests scores and lower prevalence of poor cognitive performance that those who did not. The findings were reported in the Journal of Nutrition.

This role of micronutrients in age-related cognitive decline is now being increasingly studied. Beverages such as tea, red wine, cocoa, and coffee are major dietary sources of polyphenols - micronutrients found in food derived from plants. Flavonoids are the largest subclass of dietary polyphenols, and it has been reported previously that those who consume lots of flavonoids have a lower incidence of dementia.

These recent findings seem to support the theory, but the researchers caution that more research would be needed to prove that it was flavonoids, and not some other aspect of the foods studied, that made the difference. The beverage with the most pronounced effect was wine.

Moderation is Key

This does not mean that overdoing it is okay. While moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with better cognitive function and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, heavy alcohol intake on the other hand may be one of the causes of dementia - and other health problems. Moderation is the key.

Further, a few squares of dark chocolate a day may stave off hardening of the artery in smokers and could potentially curb the risk of serious heart disease. It must be dark chocolate which is also more filling than milk chocolate and reduces cravings.

Buying Chocolate

When buying bar chocolate or cocoa powder consider buying fair trade; look for the Fair Trade Certified by TransFair USA. The label insures that the workers who harvest and process cocoa beans are paid a living wage and are protected from the use of harmful pesticides.

Also consider chocolate products that have the USDA organic label, or are organic.

For more information about the healthy benefits of dark chocolate, see the links below!


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