Cocoa and Chocolate May Benefit Seniors’ Brain Health

by Chris Curley on August 15, 2012

Powerful antioxidants in cocoa beans – and by extension hot cocoa and chocolate — may help protect seniors’ against age-related cognitive decline, MedPage Today reported Aug. 13.

In a study of elderly adults with mild cognitive impairment (a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease), those who consumed moderate-to-high levels of cocoa flavonols for two months experienced significant improvements in performing mental tasks and tests of cognitive performance compared to patients who did not consume flavonols, Giovambattista Desideri, Ph.D., of the University of L’Aquila in Italy and his colleagues found.

Cocoa flavonols can also lower your heart attack and stroke risk as well as help you keep your weight in check, earlier research shows.

Most experts recommend making low-sugar dark chocolate your chocolate of choice, however, as it has a higher concentration of antioxidants as well as fewer calories and lower milk fat than other chocolate.

The study appears online in the journal Hypertension.

(Photo © whatleydude via Flickr)