Instead of reaching for a flat white after a particularly horrific night’s sleep, you now have an excuse to tuck into a block of chocolate at breakfast.
Well, kind of.
In a recent review published in Frontiers in Nutrition, Italian researchers found that the available literature suggests a beneficial effect of cocoa flavanols on cognitive performance.
They even found that when studying women in particular, eating cocoa after a night of total sleep deprivation counteracted the cognitive impairment that experience leads to.
Although still at a preliminary stage, research showed dose-dependent improvements in general cognition, attention, processing speed, and working memory.
"Regular intake of cocoa and chocolate could indeed provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning over time,” say authors Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara.
“There are, however, potential side effects of eating cocoa and chocolate. Those are generally linked to the caloric value of chocolate, some inherent chemical compounds of the cocoa plant such as caffeine and theobromine, and a variety of additives we add to chocolate such as sugar or milk."
"Dark chocolate is a rich source of flavanols. So we always eat some dark chocolate. Every day."
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.