According to a new study, next time you’re struggling to choose a “pick-you-up”afternoon snack, try a mocha coffee. The research found that combining chocolate and caffeine — both good on their own for promoting alertness — leads to better attention levels and lower anxiety than either on their own.

The study, published online in BMC Nutrition, found that cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, can increase alertness, however, its qualities are heightened when mixed with caffeine. On the other hand, drinking caffeine without cocoa didn’t seem to affect volunteers’ concentration, but the addition of cocoa did make volunteers less angry after concentration tasks than those who had caffeine on its own, The Indy 100 reported.

Read: Chocolate Lovers Have Lower Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease

“Cocoa increases cerebral blood flow, which increases cognition and attention. Caffeine alone can increase anxiety,” explained study researcher Ali Boolani, in a recent press release. “This particular project found that cocoa lessens caffeine's anxiety-producing effects — a good reason to drink mocha lattes!"

For the study, volunteers consumed either cocoa, caffeinated cocoa, caffeine on its own, or a placebo (flavored and colored brewed water). Volunteers were measured on their motivation to perform cognitive activities, their mood, and their attention. Results showed repeatedly that cocoa and caffeine together had the best results for motivation, mood, and attention.

The study was sponsored by the Hershey Company, though the findings still give you a good excuse for a mid-afternoon treat.

Chocolate isn’t just helpful for concentration and alertness. The sweet may also lower chocoholics' risk of cardiovascular disease. A 2015 study found that higher chocolate intake is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular problems in the future. Although the exact reason for this is not clear, the team suspected it may be related to both flavonoids, a type of antioxidant found in the cocoa, and the milk byproducts, such as calcium and fatty acids. If you want to reap the most benefits from your sweet treat, you may want to visit the dark side. According to the Cleveland Clinic, dark chocolate has higher concentrations of flavonoids and fewer additives.

Source: Boolani A, Lindheimer JB, Loy BD, Crozier S, O’Connor PJ. Acute effects of brewed cocoa consumption on attention, motivation to perform cognitive work and feelings of anxiety, energy and fatigue: a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover experiment. BMC Nutrition . 2017

See Also:

Weekly Cocoa Consumption May Prevent Diabetes, And 3 Other Health Conditions

Eating Chocolate Could Reduce Your Body Fat: Is Chocolate The Next Weight Loss Cure?