Scientists from the University of L’Aquila found that cocoa and chocolate are not just treats—they are good for your cognition.
Scientists have found that flavonoids, a class of polyphenolic compounds, have many health benefits.
Particularly, the cocoa bean has been recognized as a rich source of flavonoids, mainly the flavanols subclass in the form of epicatechin and catechin.
Previous studies found that cocoa powder could help to improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Cocoa powder is also rich in theobromine, which helps to reduce inflammation and can protect you from diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Other studies have found cocoa and cocoa-derived food may have the potential to reduce cognitive decline, particularly in people at risk.
In the current study, researchers aimed to review the long-term and short-term effects of cocoa flavanols on different cognitive abilities, such as executive functions, attention, and memory.
They found that frequent cocoa intake was linked to improvements in general cognition, attention, processing speed, and working memory.
Moreover, cocoa flavanols could also enhance normal cognitive functioning and exert a protective role on cognitive performance and heart function impaired by sleep loss in healthy people.
Together, these findings suggest cocoa may help protect human cognition and counteract different types of cognitive decline.
It can be an effective tool to prevent age-related cognitive decline and sustain normal cognitive performance in healthy people.
Researchers say the recommended “dose” of cocoa is approximately 1 to 2 ounces or 30-60g. Indulge in anything more than that, and you may be consuming too many calories.
Foods rich in cocoa include cocoa butter, cocoa beans, cocoa powder, and dark chocolates.
The research was published in Frontiers in Nutrition and was conducted by Valentina Socci et al.
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