Prescription Chocolate

By on Aug 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

Cocoa flavonoids could be the key to fighting age-related mental decline and improving cognitive function in older adults.

For years, doctors and scientists have been on the lookout for a mchocolateagic pill, some daily dose able to fight age-related cognitive decline and potentially stop dementia in its tracks. While Mary Poppins counseled a spoonful of sugar to cure most ills, the real nutritional superstar may actually be chocolate.

According to a recent article published in Frontiers in Nutrition, cocoa flavonoids- one of the main ingredients in your typical candy bar, could enhance human cognition.

“Through a variety of direct and indirect biological actions, in part, still speculative, cocoa and cocoa-derived food have been suggested to possess the potential to counteract cognitive decline and sustain cognitive abilities, particularly among patients at risk,” explain the study’s authors.

“Although still at a preliminary stage, research investigating the relations between cocoa and cognition shows dose-dependent improvements in general cognition, attention, processing speed, and working memory.”

A Recipe for Healthy Brains

Chocolate’s potential to positively impact cognitive function derives from the cocoa flavonoids influence on cardiovascular function as well as its potential as a neuromodulator. In addition to flavonoids, chocolate also contains other “functional ingredients,” including methyl xanthine caffeine and theobromine, which paired together can also positively influence neurocognitive function.

“Moreover, cocoa flavanols…exert a protective role on cognitive performance and cardiovascular function specifically impaired by sleep loss, in healthy subjects,” write the study’s authors. “Together, these findings converge at pointing to cocoa as a new interesting nutraceutical tool to protect human cognition and counteract different types of cognitive decline, thus encouraging further investigations.”

Sweetening the Golden Years

The study’s authors also delve into the possibility regular chocolate consumption could be beneficial for older adults. In addition to protecting cognitive function, cocoa flavonoids and their candy bar compatriots might decrease the risk of dementia and protect cognitive abilities. While far from conclusive, the study’s authors believe the findings reveal serious potential, especially for senior citizens.

“If you look at the underlying mechanism, the cocoa flavanols have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health and can increase cerebral blood volume in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. This structure is particularly affected by aging and therefore the potential source of age-related memory decline in humans,” concludes the study.

“This result suggests the potential of cocoa flavanols to protect cognition in vulnerable populations over time by improving cognitive performance.”