Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938


By Stephen Luntz

Blackcurrants improve alertness, chocolate makes you calm, climate change shrinks waves, and more.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Blackcurrants Improve Alertness

Blackcurrant extract enriched in anthocyanins improves alertness and reduces mental fatigue, according to a double-blind trial by New Zealand’s Plant and Food Research.

Participants drank either the extract or a placebo and then completed a tiring computerised assessment. Those on the extract worked more accurately, and reported feeling more alert and less mentally fatigued afterwards.

“We know there are compounds in dark berry fruits, like blackcurrants, that have real effects on people’s health and well-being,” said study leader Dr Arjan Scheepens. “Our next stage is to identify exactly which compounds are creating this effect, and use this knowledge to develop new whole and processed foods or ingredients that deliver optimised performance.”

Chocolate Makes You Calm

Swinburne University PhD student Matthew Pase has proven what chocoholics already knew – dark chocolate keeps you calm.

“Anecdotally, chocolate is often linked to mood enhancement,” said Pase. “This clinical trial is perhaps the first to scientifically demonstrate the positive effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood.”

Pase had 72 people drink a chocolate mix containing either 0 mg, 250 mg or 500 mg of cocoa polyphenols in a double-blind trial once per day for 30 days.

Those who had drunk the high polyphenol drink reported...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.