Possibly one of the tastiest research studies ever conducted, a physician set out to evaluate whether chocolate consumption increases intelligence not just in individuals but in entire populations. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, his research showed a link between consuming chocolate and winning Nobel prizes.
Dr. Messerli began his research by analyzing how dietary flavonoids, which occur in plant-based foods, can improve the brain’s ability to perform. In particular, flavanols (a subcategory of flavonoids), which are present in cocoa, enhance your intelligence, according to Dr. Messerli’s research.
When he analyzed countries ranked by the number of Nobel prizes won and compared those rankings to the amount of chocolate eaten in those nations, Dr. Messerli concluded that the “principal finding of this study is a surprisingly powerful correlation between chocolate intake per capita and the number of Nobel laureates in various countries.”
The key to choosing chocolate to benefit your brain: Real, natural cocoa rather than products with labels containing more artificial ingredients and chemicals than cocoa! And at Vitacost, “natural” is our mantra! Try these chocolate delights to enjoy the rewards:
- Equal Exchange Organic Baking Cocoa is ideal for cooking everything from brownies to cookies. Here’s a tasty tip: Mix plain Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of this fabulous cocoa and natural sweetener, such as organic agave. Freeze until the consistency of soft ice cream and devour!
- Imagine biting into a dark chocolate bar studded with whole dry roasted almonds and a dash of sea salt. So rich and exceptionally flavored, Chocolove Dark Chocolate Bars with almonds and sea salt will make you close your eyes in bliss (and then open them to take the next bite!).
- Lacking energy? Got a case of the blahs or blues? Then be kind to yourself with KIND bars, particularly the dark chocolate and peanut butter flavor. Non-GMO, these bars contain 7 grams of protein to satisfy your hunger, plus real cocoa and nuts to delight your taste buds.
- “Mom, can I have cookies for lunch?” If you ever hear that plaintive plea in your house, here’s an answer for your little cookie monster (and big ones, too!). Turn a plain peanut butter sandwich into magic by using Justin’s Natural Hazelnut Butter with Chocolate. Made with hazelnuts, almonds, cocoa powder and cocoa butter, this all-natural spread will quickly become a family favorite (just don’t tell them it’s good for them!).
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com, Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.