Coffee and Chocolate Make You Smarter, According to the Latest Neuroscience

We consume certain ingredients every day without being aware of the positive effects that they can bring to our body and mind. Namely, the consumption of coffee, tea (to a lesser extent) and chocolate can make our brains healthier and more resilient, according to the findings of neuroscience.

The Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging conducted a study on the positive effects of coffee, tea and cacao (dark chocolate) on our brain, and the results of this study were released last January in Neurochemical Research magazine. The chemical present in these products known as methylxanthines “has clear effects on neuronal network activity, promotes sustained cognitive performance and can protect neurons against dysfunction and death in animal models of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.”

In addition to this, the xanthine metabolites, which is a chemical released when our brain processes caffeine, “may also contribute to the beneficial effects of coffee, tea, and cacao on brain health.”

There have been more studies on this subject, in fact, 11 articles for coffee, 8 articles for tea, and 4 articles for coffee plus tea which showed the positive effects on brain health. The findings of these 11 studies were released in World Journal of Surgical Oncology where it was stated that both coffee and tea (and at some extent cacao) can reduce the chances of developing brain cancer.

According to researchers there is a close relation between coffee consumption and reduced brain cancer risk, particularly in Asian populations. In terms of tea consumption this relation was not significant in this culture, but highly positive in American populations.

Asian populations would gain a lot if they drink coffee and thus boost their brain health and lowering the chances of brain cancer. On the other hand, the tea consumption would significantly help the brain health in American populations.

The conducted study at Okayama University revealed that the coffee consumption will offer these components, CA and CGA, both enhancing the antioxidative properties of glial cells thereby preventing rotenone-induced neurodegeneration in the brain and myenteric plexus. In simple words, the intake of caffeine makes the brain more resilient and flexible.

The benefits of cacao were demonstrated in several studies showing improved cognitive function, decreased dementia risk, and boosted performance on memory activities.

Another review study showed that epicatechin, a flavanol present in cocoa, tea, berries, and other fruits, provides remarkable cognitive benefits, including executive function, memory, and processing speed in older adults.

As we age we need to take care of our brain as well and because of that we should consume coffee, tea, or cacao. But, what is the right dosage?

The right dosage on daily basis for coffee is 6 – 8 ounce cups, preferably taken before 2 pm so that it does not disturb your sleeping patterns. If this amount is too much for you, then you should simply replace a cup or two with an ounce of dark chocolate, and thus boost the health of your brain.

Enjoy your coffee, tea or dark chocolate knowing that you are doing something good for your brain.