The effect of ingestion of different chocolates with varying antioxidant content on cognitive function and markers of vascular health
(2015) The effect of ingestion of different chocolates with varying antioxidant content on cognitive function and markers of vascular health, no. 24.
Rational: Ingestion of chocolate has been shown by numerous studies to improve cognitive and cardiovascular function. However, studies investigating the effects of chocolate are normally long term studies and studies involving only one type of dark chocolate. Aim: The aim of this study is to find out if dark chocolates with varying levels of antioxidant content have any acute effect on cognitive or cardiovascular function on healthy individuals. Methods: The study involved healthy university students (n=11) that would not suffer extreme reactions to ingestion of chocolate or dairy to do a series of tests assessing their cognitive and cardiovascular function before and one hour after ingestion of 33 g of high antioxidant content aromatherapy botanical chocolates on one session and a control chocolate without the botanicals on another session. The study was single blind study with randomised trials. Results: Improvements in attention through Stroop Test after botanical chocolate were highly significant (P-value=0.01) but cognitive function was only significant at a confidence level of 94% (P-value=0.06). The control chocolate also had high levels of improvement in attention and cognitive function but not enough to be statistically significant. Neither chocolates caused significant changes in cardiovascular activity after ingestion (P-values>=0.05). Conclusions: The findings of this study does not support any short term improvements in cardiovascular function. There were no statistically significant difference between cardiovascular parameters before or after ingestion of chocolate. It does however suggests significant improvements in certain cognitive tests. It also shows that the chocolates with higher antioxidant content improve cognitive function to a greater degree. Key words: chocolate, cognitive function, attention, cardiovascular function