• Question: Does eating chocolate affect the brain in any positive/ negative way such as flavanols or free radicals?

    Asked by kamile to Meeks, Pete, Stephen, Steve, Tom on 25 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Stephen Curry

      Stephen Curry answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      I’m afraid I don’t know about the specific effects of flavanols or free radicals. But chocolate itself seems to have mixed benefits. Dark choc can help with the blood flow (or circulation) and may have some anticancer effects.

      But eat too much and you can expect to put on weight and become obese, which brings its own health problems in the long run.

    • Photo: Marieke Navin

      Marieke Navin answered on 22 Jun 2010:

      Hi Kamile, well chocolate will be converted to glucose in your digestive system which the brain uses for fuel. I have heard that chocolate can have a positive effect on you by releasing endorphins and (good, dark) chocolate contains antioxidants. Not sure about flavonols/free radicals, the main negatives of chocolate are high fat/sugar, no fibre….with respect to the brain maybe Tom knows more…

    • Photo: Tom Hartley

      Tom Hartley answered on 25 Jun 2010:

      Hi kamile,

      You are on to somthing there – I found a number of scientific articles on brain effects of cocao flavinoids.


      This one seems to suggest that chocolate could increase blood flow into the brain.So perhaps we might be getting to the bottom of the question posed by caragh26 here.

      We often seem to hear about the beneficial health effects of chocolate and wine – I wonder if this might be a bit of a case of “hearing what you want to hear”!