Before you take your next exam or tackle a big project at work, eat milk chocolate to help you work smarter.

Eating milk chocolate can improve your brain activity, according to a new study from Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia. Led by Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, the researchers found that milk chocolate had a positive impact on memory, attention span and reaction time.

The study: Previous research has shown that the nutrient content of food aids in glucose release and increased blood flow. In this study, the participants consumed one of the following:

85 grams of milk chocolate
85 grams of dark chocolate
85 grams of carob
Nothing, which served as the control

After a 15-minute digestive period, the participants completed a variety of computer-based neuropsychological tests assessing word discrimination, verbal memory, design memory, attention span, reaction time, problem solving and response variability. Mood and task workload were assessed via the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and the NASA-Task Load Index (NASA-TLX). Gender and age served as co-variates for the analyses.

The results: "Composite scores for verbal and visual memory were significantly higher for milk chocolate than the other conditions," says Raudenbush, associate professor of psychology and director of undergraduate research at the university, said in a news release announcing the study findings. "Consumption of milk or dark chocolate showed improved impulse control and reaction time. These findings provide support for nutrient release via chocolate consumption to enhance cognitive performance."

Translation: Chocolate may make you work smarter.

Why? Chocolate contains a ****tail of stimulant ingredients, including theobromine, phenethylamine, and caffeine, reports Reuters. "These substances by themselves have previously been found to increase alertness and attention, and what we have found is that by consuming chocolate you can get the stimulating effects, which then lead to increased mental performance," Raudenbush explained to Reuters.