Hot chocolate may sharpen older folks’ minds Show Notes

Friday, August 24, 2012 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Hot chocolate may sharpen older folks’ minds

A new study has found that consuming more cocoa may improve mental functioning and lower blood pressure in elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment. 

In the study, which was done in Italy, patients consumed drinks that were either low, intermediate or high in an ingredient found in cocoa called flavanol.

The patients’ cognitive functioning was tested after eight weeks — including aspects such as judgment, short-term and long-term memory, processing speed and overall thinking skills.  Those who had consumed high or medium levels of cocoa flavenols had better scores overall. 

You should know that the research was supported by a grant from the Mars chocolate company and they supplied the cocoa drinks used in the study.

Even so, the results add to a growing body of evidence that consuming moderate amounts of chocolate may be good for you — and some health experts said the results appear encouraging.

Another study found that dark chocolate reduces the risk of heart problems.  

Flavanols, which can also be found in tea and in dark fruits such as red grapes, cherries and apples, are also known to help with kidney function, weight problems, anemia, gout, diabetes and stroke.

But if you like chocolate, cocoa powder is probably your best bet, as it delivers the most flavanols with the least amount of calories.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.

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