Chocolate is considered a delicious and nutritious snack, given that it is made from raw cacao, where most of its health benefits come from. Raw cacao, unlike processed cocoa powder and regular chocolate bars, is not exposed to high temperatures, which remove many of its unique health benefits, as previously noted. Here Brocky Wilson, food.news, reflects on consuming dark chocolate to protect cognitive decline:
“More than just a sweet treat, chocolate is an amazing superfood that’s packed with brain-healthy nutrients. This delectable food is made by drying and fermenting the beans of the cacao tree, which are then processed into cocoa powder, cocoa butter and chocolate.
Cocoa beans are chock-full of natural compounds called flavonols. Cocoa flavonols act as antioxidants in your body and are extremely beneficial to your brain. According to an Italian study, the flavonols in chocolate can enhance cognition and protect against cognitive decline.
Nutrients in chocolate improve brain health
Researchers from the University of Rome and the University of L’Aquila in Italy reviewed past studies that examined the effects of cocoa flavonols on different cognitive domains, including attention and memory.
Many of the studies showed that consuming cocoa flavonols enhanced working memory and improved people’s ability to process visual information. Eating cocoa after a sleepless night also helped protect against the cognitive impairment caused by sleep deprivation.
Meanwhile, consuming cocoa flavonols every day for three months enhanced the cognitive performance of elderly participants. In particular, it improved their focus, working memory, processing speed and verbal fluency. These improvements were most pronounced in older adults whose memories were starting to decline or who had other mild cognitive impairments.
This finding suggests that the flavanols in cocoa could protect against cognitive decline in vulnerable populations, study co-authors Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara said.
The pair attributed this neuroprotective effect to the flavonols’ ability to boost cardiovascular health and increase blood flow to the hippocampus, a region of the brain that shrinks with age and is linked to age-related cognitive decline. Since blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to cells, improved blood flow to your hippocampus helps keep your brain cells healthy and functioning optimally.”
Read More … Article Support: https://www.food.news/2021-06-15-dark-chocolate-protects-against-cognitive-decline.html
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