Eating chocolate can improve your math skills?

Findings presented at the British Psychological Society annual conference show that eating large amounts of chocolate improves mental arithmetic skills. From the Daily Telegraph:

Prof David Kennedy, director of the brain, performance and nutrition research centre at Northumbria University, and a co-author of the study, said that chocolate could be beneficial for mentally challenging tasks.

The findings suggest students who binge on chocolate when revising for exams may gain a real benefit from doing so.

“For things that are difficult to do, mentally demanding things that maybe crop up in your work it could help,” Prof Kennedy said.

The responsible compounds, called flavanols, are part of a group of chemicals called polyphenols, which work by increasing blood flow to the brain.

For the study 30 volunteers were asked to count backwards in groups of three from a random number between 800 and 999 generated by a computer.

The findings show that they could do the calculations more quickly and more accurately after they had been given the drink.

Unfortunately, Professor Kennedy also allowed that fruits and vegetables are also rich in polyphenols:

“The more fruit and vegetables and things that are high in polyphenols the better that is for your brain in the long run.”

You eat the vegetables, we’ll eat the chocolate.

(Hat tip to the Posit Science Brain Fitness News for alerting us to this delicious study.)

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One Response to “Eating chocolate can improve your math skills?”

  1. Exercise Can Make You Smarter « Thoughts from Be Amazing Says:

    […] a warning: this is not going to be as interesting or fun as our post a couple of months ago about how chocolate can make you smarter! OK. You’ve been […]

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