167 Reach for the Chocolate!

Based on research by Montopoli, M., Stevens, L., Smith, C. (2015), written by Mara Rowcliffe, BS.

Chocolate has been known as the food for Gods and a gift of love, but does eating chocolate have benefits besides being a delicious treat?

Previous research suggests chocolate widens blood vessels, lowers blood pressure long term, and contains mild stimulants. Psychologist. Larry Stevens with colleagues at North Arizona University, collaborating with a mathematician from Western Arizona College, conducted a study to examine the stimulant effects of eating chocolate containing 60% cacao in comparison with, low (0%) cacao chocolate, drinking sugar water, or plain water. After eating 60% cacao chocolate or drinking one of the types of water or low 0% cacao, participants’ blood pressure, brain activity, and mood were measured before and after a 60-min digestion period. Results revealed for those participants who ate 60% cacao chocolate, their brain activity showed increased levels of alertness and attention. Their blood pressure did increase, but only for a short time period. No mood changes were found.

So if you need a quick pick me up to improve your attention and alertness and it’s too close to bedtime for any caffeine, grab a piece of high cacao chocolate!


Montopoli, M., Stevens, L., Smith, C., Montopoli, G., Passino, S., Brown, S., Camou, L.,      Carson, K., Maaske, S., Knights, K., Gibson, W., Wu., J. (2015). The acute electrocortical and blood pressure effects of chocolate. NeuroRegulation.

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