Australian Natural Bodz - - Nutrition Knowledge Centre -

A40-g piece of dark cho­co­late ac­ti­vates the brain, makes you feel more awake, more alert and less sleepy, ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle by psy­chol­o­gists at North­ern Ari­zona Univer­sity in Neu­roReg­u­la­tion. Yet another rea­son why adding a cou­ple of ta­ble­spoons of co­coa to your pre-work­out shake, as some ath­letes do, isn’t such a bad idea at all. Co­coa is a stim­u­lant Co­coa con­tains a cock­tail of in­ter­est­ing bioac­tive sub­stances, such as theo­bromine and caf­feine. It also con­tains phe­nols that are ca­pa­ble of boost­ing the con­cen­tra­tion of nat­u­ral pep-hor­mones such as adrenalin and no­ra­drenalin. So it wasn’t a huge sur­prise when Bri­tish re­searchers an­nounced ten years ago that co­coa had a stim­u­la­tory ef­fect on peo­ple with chronic fa­tigue. But un­til re­cently no stud­ies had been done in which re­searchers mea­sured the elec­tri­cal ac­tiv­ity in the brain as a re­sult of in­gest­ing co­coa. And that’s ex­actly what the re­searchers at North­ern Ari­zona Univer­sity have now done. Study The re­searchers did ex­per­i­ments with 122 stu­dents, aged be­tween 18 and 25. They di­vided their sub­jects into six groups and gave the sub­jects in three of these a 40-g piece of cho­co­late. The cho­co­late they used was man­u­fac­tured by The Her­shey Com­pany, the spon­sor of the study. One group was given higher-ca­cao cho­co­late, which con­sisted of 60 per­cent ca­cao. The stu­dents ingested 24 g ca­cao (which cor­re­sponds to 5 ta­ble­spoons of co­coa pow­der). Another group was given 40 g low-ca­cao cho­co­late. This was white cho­co­late that con­tained no ca­cao, but more sugar and fat. The third group was given higher-ca­cao cho­co­late to which the man­u­fac­turer had added the amino acid L-thea­nine. Two con­trol groups drank wa­ter that con­tained sugar. The high-sugar group ingested the same amount of sugar as the low-ca­cao cho­co­late group had ingested in the form of cho­co­late; the low-sugar group ingested the same amount of sugar as the higher-ca­cao cho­co­late group had been given. A third con­trol group was given wa­ter with no ad­di­tives. Re­sults The re­searchers at­tached elec­trodes to the stu­dents’ head to mea­sure the elec­tri­cal ac­tiv­ity of the brain, and took mea­sure­ments just be­fore the stu­dents were given their cho­co­late or wa­ter and 90 min­utes later. In the stu­dents that had been given higher-ca­cao cho­co­late the theta waves had de­creased. The brain pro­duces more theta waves the sleepier you are. In the higher-ca­cao cho­co­late group – and also in the high-sugar group – the re­searchers ob­served a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in beta waves. Your brain pro­duces more beta waves the more alert you are, and the more you aware of your sur­round­ings. Con­clu­sion “Cho­co­late is in­deed a stim­u­lant and it ac­ti­vates the brain in a re­ally spe­cial way”, re­searcher Larry Stevens an­nounced in a press re­lease. “It can in­crease brain char­ac­ter­is­tics of at­ten­tion.” Com­ment: Now, this is NOT a green light to load up on Cad­bury cho­co­late bars! You may in­deed be alert but there is lit­tle point in be­ing fat and alert! In­stead try adding a tea­spoon of pure Co­coa pow­der to your cup of cof­fee. This way you get a dou­ble bang for the buck mi­nus a ton of calo­ries, sugar and fat! por­tions of fruit and veg­eta­bles a day, com­pared with only 6.8% who ate less than one por­tion. As well, 31.4% of those with high men­tal well be­ing ate three to four por­tions of fruits and veg­gies daily, and 28.4% ate one to two.

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