DRINK THAT HOT CHOCOLATE It may prevent memory decline as you get older August 08, 2013
Hot chocolate: it may help keep your memory from failing as you get older.
(NATIONAL) -- Do you like hot chocolate? Then go ahead and drink two cups a day. It might keep your brain healthy and prevent memory decline as you get older.
That's what scientists at Harvard Medical School found in a study published online in the August 7th issue of Neurology.
They think memory decline might be prevented due to a chemical component in the chocolate preserving blood flow in working areas of the brain.
The study recruited 60 dementia-free older people, average age about 73, and asked them to drink two cups of hot cocoa a day for 30 days.
Half the study participants drank hot cocoa high in the antioxidant flavanol, while the other half drank flavanol-poor hot cocoa. There is some evidence that consuming cocoa flavanols helps circulation and heart health.
During the study the participants were asked not to consume any other products containing chocolate during the study.
Before and after the chocolate consumption, the researchers tested the participants' memory and thinking skills and using ultrasound technology they measured blood flow response to brain activity as the participants completed the mental tests.
At the start of the study, 18 of the 60 participants had impaired blood flow response to brain activity and by the end of the study, it had improved by 8.3%.
Researchers also tested the participant's memory with a speed test and found that at the start of the the study it took them 167 seconds to complete the test, while at the end they did it in 116 seconds.
The study concluded there was a "strong correlation" between impaired blood flow response to brain activity and cognitive function, and that both can be improved by regular cocoa consumption in individuals with "baseline impairments."