(STUDY FINDS) — BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom — As winter arrives, hot tea and cocoa naturally become popular drink choices with a lot of people. A new study finds drinking cocoa is not just the popular choice, it may also be the “smart” choice as well. Researchers at the University of Birmingham find consuming flavanol-rich foods, commonly found in cocoa, increases the drinker’s mental performance.
Flavanols are a group of molecules which occur naturally in fruits and vegetables. They’re a member of the plant flavonoid family and are common in cocoa, grapes, apples, tea, berries, and even wine. While previous studies reveal these molecules can improve brain health, the new report finds they also stimulate brain-blood oxygenation levels. The results show this actually helps people to think faster and perform cognitive challenges more efficiently.
“We used cocoa in our experiment, but flavanols are extremely common in a wide range of fruit and vegetables. By better understanding the cognitive benefits of eating these food groups, as well as the wider cardiovascular benefits, we can offer improved guidance to people about how to make the most of their dietary choices,” lead author Dr. Catarina Rendeiro says in a university release.