Hot Chocolate Boosts Your Brain

hot chocolate

Give a boost to your brain with hot chocolate

Who can use an extra brain boost every so often? As reported by scientists, a couple mugs of hot cocoa “can help boost blood circulation inside your brain by about ten per cent.” Yes, ten per cent. Pretty good!

Just how can hot chocolate do that?

Let’s begin with an instant science lesson: blood vessels provide oxygen for your brain plus they perform best when they’re relaxed (doesn’t everything work better by doing this?). This enables oxygen and nutrients to travel where they have to go. Flavonols present in chocolate help your blood vessels relax and thereby helping the blood flow in your brain.

Makes sense if you ask me. Hot chocolate usually helps me loosen up and feel better. And now it may cause me to feel smarter too! Who knew?

The hot chocolate catch

There’s just one catch to keep sharp by drinking hot chocolate— you have to drink real hot chocolate. Not the kind that many people grew up drinking. What most children think of as hot cocoa is not slightly close to what granny would always offer following a day of sledding. Thankfully, we have found a company that puts a similar love and care into making hot chocolate goodness.

Other hot chocolate benefits

Research has shown that the consumption of hot chocolate could be beneficial to a person’s health. Research conducted by Cornell University indicates that hot chocolate contains more antioxidants than wine and tea, therefore lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. Within a serving of cocoa, the researchers found 611 milligrams of gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of epicatechin equivalents (ECE), in comparison with 340 milligrams of GAE and 163 milligrams of ECE in red wine, and 165 milligrams of GAE and 47 milligrams of ECE in green tea. Chang Yong Lee, the professor and researcher at Cornell who conducted the study, revealed that a more substantial quantity of antioxidants are released once the beverage is heated.

While hot cocoa is usually consumed for pleasure, you can find a number of possible health benefits linked with consuming hot cocoa. Research show that hot cocoa includes significant amounts of antioxidants which may be beneficial to a person’s health. Also, the Cocoa Bean has shown evidence that it can help with digestion. From the 16th to 19th centuries, hot cocoa was appreciated as a medicine and a drink. The explorer Francisco Hernández wrote that dark chocolate drinks helped treat fever and liver disease. Another explorer, Santiago de Valverde Turices, thought that considerable amounts of hot cocoa was beneficial in healing chest conditions, but in smaller amounts could help stomach problems. When cocoa was brought to the French in the 17th century, it was apparently used “to fight against fits of rage and bad moods”, which may be credited to cocoa’s phenylethylamine content.

Today, hot cocoa is consumed for enjoyment instead of medicinally, but new studies suggest that there may be additional health benefits attributed to the drink.

The flavonoids found in cacao that makes up healthy hot chocolate also have a positive impact on arterial health. A specific study carried out by the National Institutes of Health grants and Mars demonstrated high amounts of improvement in blood flow after drinking a flavanol-rich cocoa beverage. In the study, the subjects (27 people ages 18 to 72) drank a cocoa drink containing 900 milligrams of flavonols every day, which resulted in an improvement in blood flow and the function of endothelial cells that line blood vessels.

In further research conducted by Dr. Norman K. Hollenberg, professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that flavonols may also help vessels dilate and help keep platelets from clustering on the blood vessel walls. Flavonoids found in hot chocolate are beneficial to the health mainly because they shield the walls of blood vessels from free radical damage. Flavanols are also believed to help reduce blood  platelet buildup and can balance levels of compounds called eicosanoids, which may be beneficial to cardiovascular health. The right hot chocolate has a lot of flavonols.

Be sure when you have your hot chocolate that it is high in flavonols and you’ll be able to give your brain that needed extra boost.

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lillian Cox February 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Great post.Thanks Again. Much obliged.

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