Cocoa may help keep brain healthy
When the weather starts to cool down later this year, don’t feel guilty about drinking an extra cup of hot chocolate. You could be doing your brain a favor. New research from Harvard Medical School says that drinking two cups of hot chocolate can help keep the brains of older adults healthy and sharp. The research also suggests chocolate could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, as it promotes blood flow in the brain.
In this study, 50 participants – average age of 73, and none with dementia–were asked to drink two cups of hot cocoa a day for 30 days and avoid all other chocolates. They were given memory and thinking tests, and had ultrasounds to measure the amount of blood flow within the brain during these exams. The results found that, of the 60 participants, 18 had impaired blood flow at the start of the study. By the end, those people saw an 8.3 percent improvement in blood flow in the areas of the brain engaged by taking the exams–though there was no improvement in those who started out with normal blood flow. Test scores also improved with the introduction of hot cocoa.
While the results may be exciting for the chocoholics out there, the researchers acknowledge that more research is needed.