18:09 07 March 2017
Psychologists from the University of Georgia and Clarkson University in New York have found that caffeine combined with cocoa can enhance brain function.
After studying the behaviour of people drinking coffee and hot chocolate for a year, they found that the combo improves attention span and cognitive performance because coffee boosts energy levels while hot chocolate helps to relieve anxiety.
In their study, the participants were given brewed cocoa, cocoa with caffeine, and a placebo drink with neither caffeine nor cocoa. They were then asked to watch as letters flashed across the a screen and note when an ‘X’ appeared after an ‘A.’ In addition, they were asked to point out when odd numbers appeared in a sequence. Researchers found that participants who had drank caffeine with cocoa performed the best.
Ali Boolani, a professor of physical therapy at Clarkson University, said: 'It was a really fun study,'
'Cocoa increases cerebral blood flow, which increases cognition and attention. Caffeine alone can increase anxiety.
'This particular project found that cocoa lessens caffeine's anxiety-producing effects - a good reason to drink mocha lattes.'
'The results of the tests are definitely promising and show that cocoa and caffeine are good choices for students and anyone else who needs to improve sustained attention,'
'I'll be doing some related and follow-up studies at Clarkson to look at differences in natural vs. synthetic caffeine, and other cocoa studies.'