Photo cred - nom-food
Chocolate may not be good for your teeth or your figure, but new findings from researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center have found the sweet stuff is very good for your brain. Well, at least cocoa is.
Flavanols, a compound found in cocoa, was the focus of the study, and its effect on the brain's natural ability to retain memory. Providing 37 participants aged 50-69 with a specially-made cocoa drink, with one group getting a larger dose of flavanols than the other, the researchers then tracked the difference in cognitive performance between the two groups.
Testing both groups using brain imaging and simple memory tasks, the group with high level of flavanols showcased vastly improved memories. Not only did the group perform better in the pattern-recognition memory tests, increased blood flow levels were also seen in participants dentate gyrus, an area of the brain linked to the creation of memories that typically degrades with age.
Scott Small, senior author of the study, noted how a participant who had the memory of a 60-year-old when the study began, was shown to have the cognitive capacity for memory "of a typical 30- or 40-year old," quotes CTV. So cocoa is essentially the memory fountain of youth.
Not solely found in cocoa, flavanols can also be ingested via grapes, blueberries, certain teas and other vegetables. Cocoa is the most delicious flavanol carrier, obviously, so the next time you feel guilty about eating too much chocolate, just chalk it up to memory preservation.