Researchers have found that dark, but not milk, chocolate can have positive effects upon health Eating chocolate could give a short-term boost to the way you process information according to research from the University of Nottingham, UK. Professor Ian MacDonald found that drinking a cocoa-containing beverage increases blood flow to the brain for up to three hours. This may help to increase performance in certain tasks and enhance alertness particularly in sleep-deprived people and those who are chronically tired. Cocoa is rich in compounds called flavonoids, which have numerous health benefits including lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of serious illness. According to the British Dietetic Association, dark chocolate contains antioxidants that match the levels found in fruit and vegetables. Studies in humans have shown that eating dark chocolate can increase antioxidant levels in the blood. The University of Glasgow and Italy's National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research asked a group of 12 volunteers to eat dark and milk chocolate. Professor Alan Crozier found that volunteers had to eat twice as much milk chocolate as dark to get the same amount of antioxidants. Furthermore, dark chocolate was found to boost antioxidant levels in the blood by almost 20 per cent. These effects weren't shown with milk chocolate, or when dark chocolate was eaten with milk. It is likely that the proteins in milk bind with the antioxidants in chocolate and so cannot be absorbed by the body. Of course, any benefits need to be considered in context. Products containing cocoa are often calorie-dense and contain high amounts of fat, saturated fat and sugar, and so should be eaten in moderation. Q & A's Does chocolate contain caffeine? An ounce of chocolate contains between 5-10mg caffeine. That's about the same amount as in a cup of decaffeinated coffee. An 8-ounce cup of regular coffee contains 100-150mg of caffeine. Does chocolate cause acne? According to the Acne Resource Centre, chocolate and other foods, such as pizza, potato chips and dairy products, do not cause acne. Acne is caused by overactive oil glands, heredity, dead skin cells that clog up skin pores and hormonal changes. Is chocolate fattening? Chocolate is rich in saturated fats, cholesterol and sugar. If you frequently eat a lot of chocolate in addition to your normal diet, the likelihood of you becoming overweight and obese increases. Does chocolate improve mood? Chocolate contains very small amounts of chemicals such as serotonin, endorphins, theobromine and phenylethylamine. Some scientists suggest these contribute to feelings of wellbeing. Others say the feelgood factor comes from the sensory pleasure that chocolate gives when we eat it - its smoothness and aroma.