Chocolate can improve your memory

By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)

To all the chocoholics that snuck chocolate into their late-night study sessions or work conferences – you were onto something! Cacao (the bean that chocolate is made from) contains compounds that have been shown to improve memory, cognitive function and reduce mental fatigue. It does this by reducing the breakdown of dopamine and enhancing dopamine activity. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (brain hormone) that motivates us, helps us to feel pleasure and improves our focus. Basically, it supports the brain and helps it function better. This is great news for all the chocolate lovers out there! There’s only one catch – the white chocolate we love so much does not contain any cacao and milk chocolate, whilst containing some cacao, is full of sugar! Dark chocolate is the way to go as it contains a higher percentage of cacao. Aim for chocolate that contains 70% or more cacao for maximum benefit to your memory and mood. Selenium (found in brazil nuts) also supports the dopamine pathway and Tyrosine (a building block of protein) is needed to synthesise dopamine. Happy studying!

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