Newly Discovered Dark Chocolate Benefits: Chocolate May Improve Attention and Alertness

One of the newest discoveries about the many dark chocolate benefits for our health suggests that chocolate may improve attention and alertness.

A study published recently in the journal NeuroRegulation found that high-cacao chocolate appears to have stimulatory effects on parts of the central and peripheral nervous systems (CNS and PNS).

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My family is full of chocolate lovers; we just can’t help ourselves when it comes to rich, chocolate treats. We love Easter, Valentine’s day, and other special occasions that are an excuse to eat more chocolate (my siblings and I still get Easter baskets from our mom full of dark chocolate bars, and she, at 57, still gets one from her mom as well).

You can imagine, then, how thrilled we all are about the abundance of research showing that chocolate no longer needs to be a guilty pleasure. Instead, we can eat dark chocolate with joy knowing that it helps lower our blood pressure and boost our mood, among other things. One of the newest discoveries about the many dark chocolate benefits for our health suggests that chocolate may improve attention and alertness. 

Chocolate as a stimulant

A study published recently in the journal NeuroRegulation found that high-cacao chocolate appears to have stimulatory effects on parts of the central and peripheral nervous systems (CNS and PNS).[1]

Certain EEG readings are known to be associated with inattention; higher readings called theta and lower readings called beta tend to occur when someone is “spacing out.” In the study, the authors found that 60% cacao chocolate was associated with decreases in frontal, parietal, and temporal theta and an increase in occipital beta EEG readings, corresponding to improvements in attention and alertness. The findings suggest that high cacao content above 60% can have significant stimulatory effects, helping people to be more alert and attentive (without the need for high levels of sugar). The authors don’t yet know how exactly cacao influences brain activity to have these effects.[1]

The other amazing dark chocolate benefits

Dark chocolate is one of the best foods to lower blood pressure, and it can also help to improve mood, protect your memory, improve insulin resistance, and more. To learn more about the many dark chocolate benefits for your health, read these blogs:

A few squares of dark chocolate can be a great alternative to high-sugar drinks, a candy bar, or other unhealthy pick-me ups when you find yourself in a slump. So the next time you are feeling a little spaced out and having trouble paying attention, grab a high quality dark chocolate bar (with high cacao content and low sugar content) to help boost your alertness.

Share your experience

Do you eat dark chocolate? What are your favorite, high-quality brands? Do you find that it helps keep you more alert and focused? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


[1] NeuroRegulation. 2015 2(1):3-28.

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