Personally, I don’t really go through a “midday slump” per se, instead by the time 3 o’clock afternoon tea rolls around, my cognitive activity begins to get a little fuzzy and attention span is at an all day low – so please, no more meetings!
But regardless of the time, if you do suffer from an energy slump, a new study published in the journal NeuroRegulation, which was sponsored by Hershey Company, found that chocolate widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure, in addition to containing some powerful stimulants.
Researchers examined the electroencephalography or EEG levels and blood pressure effects of consuming a 60 percent cacao confection. Results showed that the brain was more alert and attentive after consuming the dark chocolate. The blood pressure of the participants also increased for a short period of time.
So why did Hershey sponsor such research when their product offerings are primarily high in sugar and milk content, and less of the premium high-cacao dark chocolates?
Turns out researchers also tested a 60 percent cacao chocolate with L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea that acts as a relaxant. This combination hasn’t been introduced to the market yet, but clearly the L-theanine and cacao combination is of interest at the Research & Development department at Hershey.
“We thought that if chocolate acutely elevates blood pressure, and L-theanine lowers blood pressure, then maybe the L-theanine would counteract the short-term hypertensive effects of chocolate,” Larry Stevens, a professor of psychological sciences at Northern Arizona University shared with NAU News.
Stevens hopes that confectionary manufacturers will be encouraged to investigate further and consider the health benefits of consuming high cacao content chocolates. In addition, developing a chocolate bar made with both high cacao and L-theanine may be beneficial to hypertension patients around the world.