Does cocoa make you smarter?

The antioxidant flavanols naturally found in cocoa are able to reverse the process of progressive memory loss due to aging.

This fact was established by scientists from Columbia University and New York University during a study published in the journal “Nature Neuroscience”.

In previous studies, one of the authors of the new study found that age-related memory loss is a result of changes taking place in an area of ​​the brain called the dentatus gyrus. located in the hippocampus.

But a condition that precedes Alzheimer’s disease is thought to affect another area in the hippocampus known to scientists as the entorhinal cortex.

And this suggests that different processes underlie the “normal” decline in memory and this loss of ability to retain information due to Alzheimer’s disease.

But not all scientists agree that there is a condition, such as normal memory loss.

In a study conducted by scientists at the Chicago Medical Center and published in the journal Neurology in 2010, 350 Catholic priests, nuns and monks were followed and then autopsied after death.

Scientists found signs of brain damage in all of them, in which there were signs of memory loss before death.

However, not all disabilities were due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Cocoa enhances memory and other brain functions

From the results of previous scientific studies, cocoa flavanols have been found to strengthen neuronal connections in the gyrus dentatus in mice.

And that’s why the authors of the new study tried to analyze how these flavanols can affect a person’s ability to remember information.

The new study focused on the type of cognitive decline typically associated with normal aging rather than Alzheimer’s disease.

This cognitive decline is characterized by a weakening of the ability to perceive information and to remember specific things, such as new names or where items such as keys or cars have been left.

Scientific research shows that cognitive decline can begin as early as adulthood, but usually does not affect quality of life until at least age 50.

Because cocoa flavanols are usually removed from chocolate products during their production, the scientists used a special drink rich in this type of antioxidants, produced by a company that manufactures chocolates and cocoa drinks, for the purposes of the study of the study.

In the study, 37 people in good health between the ages of 50 and 69 took part.

They were divided randomly, with one group following a diet in which they obtained a negligible amount of flavanols, about 10 mg. daily, and the other large amounts – 900 mg.

At the beginning and end of the study, tests of the participants’ ability to memorize information were conducted. In addition, all volunteers underwent an imaging study of blood flow to the dentatus gyrus.

Participants who followed a diet high in flavonoids showed a significant increase in the activity of an area of ​​the brain called the dentate gyrus and improved memory abilities compared to the volunteers who took a placebo drink.

In addition, the results of many scientific studies show that the antioxidant flavanols, which are also found in large quantities in green tea and some fruits and vegetables, are extremely beneficial for health.

A large-scale clinical trial has recently begun to investigate whether flavanols can prevent heart attack and stroke.

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