Chocolate is a common substance bandied about in the media, akin to reporting health benefits from a single glass of red wine a day. The New York Times (10/27/14) cites an article coming out in Nature Neuroscience that further helps to rationalize use of chocolate. As I explained to my Intro Psychology course yesterday, rationalization can be the mind's devious way to justify behavior. Nothing is sneakier than including scientific backing!
And here it is! Participants ages 50 to 69 were randomized to ingest cocoa flavanols or to ingest a low-flavanol mixture. Flavanols, especially epicatechin, are common in dark chocolate and linked to improved blood circulation and heart health. Participants in the cocoa condition performed significantly better on memory tests compared to those in the low-flavanol condition.
While this is a break-through study in use of a randomized design with cocoa, it was partly funded by Mars Inc. and the 138 milligrams of epicatchenin, ingesting daily for three months by the experimental group, is the equivalent of even average-sized bars of dark chocolate.
In sum, stronger rationalization is there but remain wary of trying this study at home.