Many of the best things in life are dipped in chocolate. After all, Valentine鈥檚 Day wouldn鈥檛 be the same without the supposed aphrodisiac, and Forrest Gumpwould certainly suffer if he didn鈥檛 have a box of it. Sometimes, we feel a little guilty about indulging in it, but here鈥檚 some good news that will make聽chocoholics rejoice: A recent study published in Appetitejournal shows that chocolate intake has been linked to increased brain function. Yes, chocolate makes you SMARTER.

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If that聽doesn鈥檛聽make聽all that chowing down on your favorite treat聽feel justified, we鈥檙e not sure what will. According to the study, 鈥淚n 2009, 7.2 million tons of chocolate was consumed worldwide.鈥 Whoa, that鈥檚 a lot of chocolate. The study was conducted by a group of researchers using data from an MSLS, or聽Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. The scientists observed 968 folks from ages 23 to 98 and the info on their heart health, brain function and more.

The聽scientists also state,聽鈥淭he cardiovascular benefits have been well established from dietary intervention trials showing improvements in insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, endothelial function,聽and cerebral blood flow.鈥 Yep, chocolate intake has long been associated with cardiovascular health (yay!). But this study is all about the brain.

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Flavanols,聽a subgroup of flavonoids, are 鈥渘aturally occurring polyphenolic compounds present in plant-based foods,鈥 found in everything from tea to wine to grapes 鈥 and they are particularly rich in聽cocoa. The study reports, 鈥淏enefits to information processing speed and working memory were observed in these studies within hours of consuming cocoa flavanols or dark chocolate.鈥

Naturally, the darker the chocolate is, the higher the level of flavanol. The good news is not only do high-doses of flavonol intake over a period of time potentially slow聽mental deterioration, but they can also be used to聽boost your alertness during the day. Bye bye, coffee. Hello, dark chocolate!

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