Polyphenols, plant chemicals abundant in dark chocolate, dilate blood vessels, speeding the supply of blood to the brain.
This provides it with a rush of oxygen and sugars, making complex calculations easier and quicker. Besides polyphenols are more effective in combination than alone, the Daily Mail reports.
The theory follows two Northumbria University studies into the effects of polyphenols on the mind. In the first, healthy adults were set a series of tests after taking a capsule packed with resveratrol, the ‘wonder ingredient’ in red wine.
Scans showed a marked increase in blood flow to their brains after taking the supplement.
Greater improvements may be seen in the elderly, said doctoral researcher Emma Wightman from Northumbria, because blood flow to the brain naturally decreases with age.
Unfortunately for wine lovers, the quantities of resveratrol used in the study would equate to drinking crates of the stuff. But it is easy to get the same amounts from supplements sold in health food stores.
And with resveratrol credited with abilities from extending life to burning off junk food, Wightman says there is nothing to stop people from stocking up.
”There is research showing quite a lot of health benefits and there is nothing to suggest there are any adverse effects. You are not going to come to any harm,” she said.