Scott A. Small and colleagues examined whether cocoa flavanols, would enhance brain function and cognitive performance in 37 older participants, aged 50-69, who were given either a high or a low dose of cocoa flavanols for three months. The authors report that in a delayed-recognition memory task participants who consumed a high dose of cocoa flavanols over three months were much faster than those who received a low flavanol dose.
Alzheimer’s Society comment:
Dr Clare Walton, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
‘This well-designed but small study suggests the antioxidants found in cocoa can improve cognitive performance by improving blood flow to a certain region of the brain. The brain region is known to be affected in ageing, but as yet we don’t know whether these brain changes are involved in dementia.
‘With the winter nights setting in, many of us will be settling down with a nice hot cup of cocoa at the end of our day. However, the jury is still out as to whether partaking in things high in antioxidants can improve your memory or reduce your risk of dementia.’