16. Cocoa, Blood Flow and the Brain

  1. Margot Skinner2 and
  2. Denise Hunter3
  1. Crystal F. Haskell and
  2. Anthony W. Watson

Published Online: 24 JUN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118635551.ch16

Bioactives in Fruit: Health Benefits and Functional Foods

Bioactives in Fruit: Health Benefits and Functional Foods

How to Cite

Haskell, C. F. and Watson, A. W. (2013) Cocoa, Blood Flow and the Brain, in Bioactives in Fruit: Health Benefits and Functional Foods (eds M. Skinner and D. Hunter), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118635551.ch16

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Professor in Food Science, School of Chemical Sciences and Institute of Plant and Food Science, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

  2. 3

    Research Scientist in Food Innovation, The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Auckland, New Zealand

Author Information

  1. Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre, School of Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 JUN 2013
  2. Published Print: 19 JUN 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470674970

Online ISBN: 9781118635551



  • blood flow;
  • brain activity;
  • cocoa;
  • cocoa absorption;
  • cocoa cultivation;
  • cocoa extraction;
  • pharmacokinetics


This chapter explores the relationship between cocoa consumption, specifically flavan-3-ols, and brain activity as assessed by human intervention studies. Wherever possible, studies included will be conducted according to randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind procedures. Evidence from animal studies and human cardiovascular studies are also included, where appropriate, to provide potential mechanisms relevant to cognition. As the effects of caffeine and theobromine have also been the focus of research with regards the effects of cocoa on cognition, relevant studies of these compounds are also included. Support for intervention studies showing effects of cocoa relevant to blood flow and the brain comes from recent epidemiological research.