A new study released in the August 7 issue of Neurology possibly found a new preventative measure for aging adults fighting memory loss and dementia. No, it’s not eating a greater quantity of healthier foods and exercising – although that helps! Researchers found that seniors who drank two cups of hot cocoa every day for a month performed better on memory and thinking exams than those who didn’t have the chocolaty drink.
The study included 60 people with the average age of 73, all of whom did not have dementia. For 30 days, the individuals were asked to consume two cups of hot cocoa each day, but refrain from eating any other chocolate for the duration of the study. Of the patients studied, 18 of them had impaired blood flow at the start of the study. Before partaking in the study, researchers also conducted MRI scans, which revealed that those with impaired blood flow had small clusters of brain damage compared to those with normal blood flow.
According to previous outside research, chocolate, and most notably dark chocolate, has many health benefits that can reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, lower risk of stroke and benefit individuals with cognitive impairments.
By the end of the study, researchers did MRI scans on the brain once again to find that those with blood flow impairments at the start of the research showed improvements by more than 8 percent. Blood flow to the brain helped individuals improve their times on memory tests. In fact, the average score dropped by more than 50 seconds by the end of the study.