Eat more chocolate. You may win a Nobel. That is the lesson of a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“The author, Dr. Franz Messerli, of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital and Columbia University in New York, writes that there is evidence that flavanols in green tea, red wine and chocolate can help “in slowing down or even reversing” age-related mental decline," a contention some medical experts may dispute,” reports the Associate Press.
Nevertheless, he examined whether a country’s per-capita chocolate consumption was related to the number of Nobels it had won _ a possible sign of a nation’s “cognitive function.” Using data from some major chocolate producers on sales in 23 countries, he found “a surprisingly powerful correlation.”
Switzerland led in chocolate consumption and Nobels, when looked at according to population. The United States is in the middle of the pack with the Netherlands, Ireland, France, Belgium and Germany. At the bottom were China, Japan and Brazil. The study only includes Nobels through last year _ not the ones being announced this week.
You don’t have to be a Nobel aspirant to benefit from chocolate. Over a year ago, the New York Times’ Nicholas Bakalar reported: “An analysis of studies including more than 100,000 subjects has found that high levels of chocolate consumption are associated with a significant reduction in the risk of certain cardiovascular disorders."
The seven studies looked at the consumption of a variety of chocolate — candies and candy bars, chocolate drinks, cookies, desserts and nutritional supplements. By many measures, consumption of chocolate was linked to lower rates of stroke, coronary heart disease, blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions.
Of course, using chocolate as a monetary standard– as opposed to an intellectual or health standard – might be difficult. Despite its many wonderful properties, unfortunately for use as a monetary standard, chocolate melts.
Moreover, almost half the world’s production of cacao, from which chocolate is made, comes from the Ivory Coast with subsequent processing dominated by the United States and Holland. Prices and production are up this year, but the International Cocoa Organisation has announced that it anticipates a global cocoa deficit in 2012-13 due to drought in West Africa.
A monetary standard whose production depends on rainfall seems almost as dangerous as fiat money – particularly if the main producer is as subject to civil unrest and civil war as the Ivory Coast has been over the past decade.
So enjoy your chocolate...but not at the expense of a return to the gold standard.