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July 26, 2017 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition

This Treat Really Does Boost Brain Power

dark chocolate2

Looking for a delectable way to sharpen your mind? Dark chocolate may be just what the doctor ordered! In a hot-off-the-press review that included the findings from 49 previously published studies –  scientists noted a slew of cognitive benefits that resulted after the ingestion of cocoa flavanols, potent antioxidants found in dark chocolate and cocoa.  Key findings from this review included the following:

  • Both working memory and visual information processing were acutely enhanced after ingestion of cocoa flavanols.
  • In women, cocoa flavanols counteracted the cognitive impairment that occurred after a night of total sleep deprivation. (Encouraging for those plagued by poor sleep!)
  • Longer term administration of cocoa flavanols (5 days up to 3 months) was noted to boost attention, working memory, processing speed, and verbal fluency, particularly in the elderly with preexisting memory decline.

While there are a host of ways flavanol antioxidants benefit brain function, boosting blood flow to the hippocampus, the brain’s memory and learning center, was reported as the likely primary mechanism behind these findings.

Frontiers in Nutrition, 2017; 4 DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2017.00019

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