While it might not always seem like it, there could be some serious benefits to eating chocolate or drinking coffee. Sure, we tend to think of them in regards to an unnecessary indulgence but perhaps they’re more than that.

A study from the National Institute on Aging and Johns Hopkins University found that something you find in both coffee and chocolate has some pretty amazing effects. This was published last January in the Journal Neurochemical Research Magazine but has only recently begun getting proper exposure. This study was/is titled “Impact of Coffee and Cacao Purine Metabolites on Neuroplasticity and Neurodegenerative Disease.”

Basically within this study these researchers were able to come to the conclusion that methylxanthines which you would as noted above found in things like coffee and dark chocolate (cacao) are able to not only protect our neurons against certain things but also able to promote a more proper performance when it comes to how our minds work. This was not necessarily an easy feat but it is a huge one that laid the foundation for current studies in regards. 

The abstract of this study goes as follows:

Increasing evidence suggests that regular consumption of coffee, tea and dark chocolate (cacao) can promote brain health and may reduce the risk of age-related neurodegenerative disorders. However, the complex array of phytochemicals in coffee and cacao beans and tea leaves has hindered a clear understanding of the component(s) that affect neuronal plasticity and resilience. One class of phytochemicals present in relatively high amounts in coffee, tea, and cacao are methylxanthines. Among such methylxanthines, caffeine has been the most widely studied and 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. Caffeine’s mechanism of action relies on the antagonism of various subclasses of adenosine receptors. Downstream xanthine metabolites, such as theobromine and theophylline, may also contribute to the beneficial effects of coffee, tea, and cacao on brain health.

While we already knew you could use coffee for an energy boost and chocolate for a mood boost the fact that these things are also able to make our minds healthier overall and in their own ways also make us smarter depending on how you look at things is mind-blowing. We are in this moment living in a time period where lots of chocolate and coffee are being consumed which we in many ways were ashamed of but should we be? Our brains are important and if these two things in moderation can benefit them, I’m all in.

Sure, some people argue that things like this are inconclusive at best but even just recently more has come forth in regards. One study from March of this year (2019) actually even showed that coffee consumption in itself could benefit the brain and reduce cancer risks. Yes, you read that correctly.

What do you think about all of this? Are you a coffee drinker or a chocolate eater? I for one might be indulging just a little more frequently than usual after learning about all of this. 

Sources:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11064-018-2492-0

https://wjso.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12957-019-1591-y

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