We know that dark chocolate in moderation is good for your brain health. It makes you happier, facilitates the blood supply with necessary oxygen and nutrients to your brain to keep you sharp and has plenty of antioxidants to protect your cells from damaging free radicals. These are the common health benefits and you would expect them to be true for everyone…
But here we have surprising news from science. It turned out that the positive influence of chocolate on your brain depends on your age and on the amount of cocoa flavanols in it.
If you are healthy and young adult between 20 and 31 years old, than you’ll experience the most health benefits from the dark chocolate. Namely, only 24 g of dark chocolate is able to increase the levels of the nerve growth factor and theobromine in the blood, stimulating your brain to work better. You can benefit from these effects up to 3 weeks after the end of eating chocolate! Here 70% of cocoa in chocolate is enough to see the positive results.
In case you are between 40 and 65 years old, 30-day of chocolate intake (with 250 mg and 500 mg cocoa flavanols) will improve your brain function through more efficient work of your brain cells, especially concerning your working memory, but not in spatial memory.
Moving further to healthy adults aged between 50 and 69 years old. They also could notice the positive effect cocoa supplement with high flavanol content on their brain function, namely memory, after 3 months of consumption.
By contrast, if you fall into the other age category, namely more than 60 years old, than even 6 to 8 weeks eating dark chocolate bar (37g to 50 g) or drinking a cup of cacao beverage every day will not lead to the significant effects on your brain function. Here, researchers believe that insufficient amount of flavanols in the tested chocolate products might be the reason of the neutral results.
As you can see, if you are healthy, the effect of dark chocolate on your brain function highly depends on your age and the % of cocoa in your chocolate (as it determines an amount of healthy cocoa flavanols). The darker, the better!