hot chocolate may prevent memory decline!...

Scientists at Harvard Medical School suggest drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may keep the brain healthy and prevent memory decline in older people by preserving blood flow in working areas of the brain.

The team was investigating the effect of cocoa consumption on thinking & memory performance, as well as something called neurovascular coupling, where blood flow in the brain changes in response to local brain activity. 

“As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship called neurovascular coupling may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”

For their investigation the team recruited 60 dementia-free older people of average age 73 and asked them to drink two cups of hot chocolate a day for 30 days. 

Half the participants drank hot cocoa high in antioxidant flavanol, while the other half drank   flavanol-poor hot cocoa.(There is substantial evidence that consuming cocoa flavanols helps circulation and heart health). The participants were asked not to consume any other products containing chocolate during the study.

At the start of the study 18 of the 60 participants had impaired neurovascular coupling. By the end of the study it had improved by 8.3%.

Participants also improved scores on a working memory speed test. At the start of the study it took them 167 seconds to complete the test, while at the end of the test they did it in 116 seconds.

The conclusion was that: “There is a strong correlation between neurovascular coupling and cognitive function, and both can be improved by regular cocoa consumption in individuals with baseline impairments.”

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