Cocoa is an excellent product for improving memory, as the team of scientists from Italy and the U.S. claim.
They have studied the influence of flavonoids, which cocoa is rich in, on the mental state of a person. It was found that these substances had a beneficial effect on the structure and functions of the brain. They also indirectly stimulated blood supply of the brain. In addition to cocoa, this type of flavonoids (flavonols) can be found in grapes, red wine, tea, and apples.
According to the Hypertension Journal, flavonols protect the neurons from damage by improving their interaction with a molecular structure that is responsible for our memory. The journal published the results of an eight-week experiment, which involved 90 elderly people suffering from age-related disorders of the brain. The volunteers were divided into three groups. The representatives of the first one were given 990 milligrams of cocoa per day, the second group received 520 milligrams, and the third one just 45 milligrams. It turned out that by the end of the experiment the members of the first and second groups had a significant improvement in the brain: they solved cognitive tests better, their operational and verbal memory was strengthened. Other pleasant surprises included a drop in blood pressure and dependence on insulin.
The head of the geriatric chair at the Department of Life, Health, and Environmental Sciences, University of L’Aquila (Italy), MD Giovambattista Desideri explains that the positive influence of cocoa can be caused by the reduction of sensitivity to insulin. However, the experts were not able to ascertain whether the stimulation of memory was associated with the immediate use of flavonols or it was just a pleasant side effect of improving cardiovascular activity. Anyway, the experiment shows that cocoa in reasonable amounts could become part of a diet that supports the brain function.