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Study: Cocoa improves memory
As a new study shows, cocoa is not only a tasty feast for the palate, but could also help to counter age-related memory loss. Flavonoids play an important role in this. In the study, 60-year-olds achieved the memory performance of 30-year-olds.
Memory function stimulated in the elderly Studies have shown in the past that the flavonoids contained in cocoa beans can help to reduce the risk of heart attack. At high doses, this herbal active ingredient also ensures that a certain area in the brain responsible for memories is better supplied with blood, as a study by the US Columbia University shows. The memory function in seniors is therefore strongly stimulated.
Specially prepared cocoa drink For the study, which was recently published in the journal "Nature Neuroscience", 37 older adults drank a specially prepared cocoa drink every day for three months. Some of the 50- to 69-year-old subjects received a significantly higher dose of the flavonoids, the other group drank hardly anything of the plant substance. As it turned out, the study participants achieved a significantly better memory performance with the increased amount of flavonoids.
Memory of 30-year-old brain scans had shown a larger blood volume and an improved blood circulation in the dentate gyrus, a part of the hippocampal brain region. The hippocampus plays an essential role in memory. As the researchers announced, increased blood circulation was found in the test group with the flavonoid-rich drinks. They also performed much better in memory exercises. The author of the study, neurology professor Scott A. Small from Columbia University in New York said about the results: “If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the start of the study, he had an average of three months Memory performance of a 30- to 40-year-old. ”However, tests with larger test groups are still necessary to confirm these results.
Flavonoids in various foods Flavonoids are not only found in cocoa, but also in various types and concentrations in grapes, blueberries, apples and other fruits as well as in some vegetables and teas. However, most of the flavonoids are lost in the manufacture of most commercial products that contain cocoa. In order to reach the value of 900 milligrams that the study participants received, one would have to consume several bars of dark chocolate a day. The active ingredient is hardly contained in milk chocolate.
Bitter chocolate can protect against diseases It is said that the results of the study do not relate to diseases like Alzheimer's, but to normal memory gaps that can occur from the age of 50, for example when you can no longer remember the names of new acquaintances. In other areas, however, the positive influence of chocolate on health has already been shown. Various studies in the past have come to the conclusion that eating dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Scientists from Switzerland have also found that dark chocolate has an impact on the release of stress hormones and can thus protect against the negative health consequences of stress. (ad)
Image: Timo Klostermeier / pixelio.de