Chocolate may improve cognitive function within hours, says review

Chocolate may improve cognitive function within hours, says review
Source: medicalnewstoday.com
Date: 03-07-2017 Time: 02:07:58:am
long-term intake of cocoa flavanols may protect against cognitive decline

Researchers have found that cocoa flavanols could boost cognitive function within just a few hours of consumption.

Additionally, researchers found that regular, long-term intake of cocoa flavanols may protect against cognitive decline.

Flavanols are naturally occurring compounds found in various types of plants, with some of the highest levels found in the beans of the cocoa tree.

Flavanols have antioxidant properties, meaning that they have the ability to reduce the effects of cell damage caused by oxidative stress.

What is more, studies have shown that flavanols can improve blood vessel function and lower blood pressure.

But the benefits of flavanols do not end there. A new review - recently published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition - suggests that cocoa flavanols could benefit cognitive functioning.

The research was conducted by Valentina Socci, of the University of L'Aquila in Italy, and colleagues.

Rapid improvements in cognition

Previous studies have suggested a link between the intake of cocoa flavanols and better cognitive function, with dark chocolate often cited as the best source.

For the new research, Socci and team wanted to delve deeper into the brain benefits of cocoa flavanols: what specific cognitive functions are affected by cocoa flavanols? And are the effects immediate?

The researchers sought to answer these questions and more by conducting an in-depth review of existing studies looking at the cognitive effects of cocoa flavanols.

In particular, the team looked at how cocoa flavanols affect cognitive functioning over time and within hours of consumption.

The researchers found that, while only a small number of randomized controlled trials have looked at the short-term effects of cocoa flavanols on cognitive function, they do point to some significant benefits.

The team uncovered evidence of a link between consumption of cocoa flavanols and almost immediate improvements in working memory. One study, for example, identified working memory improvements in young adults just 2 hours after consuming 773 milligrams of cocoa flavanols.

In another study, researchers found that consumption of cocoa flavanols appeared to offset cognitive impairment caused by a night of sleep deprivation.

However, the authors note that the reported acute effects of cocoa flavanols were dependent on the type of cognitive assessments that the studies used, as well as the length of these assessments. They found that it required highly demanding cognitive tests to detect the most subtle benefits of cocoa flavanol consumption.

Rapid improvements in cognition

Previous studies have suggested a link between the intake of cocoa flavanols and better cognitive function, with dark chocolate often cited as the best source.

For the new research, Socci and team wanted to delve deeper into the brain benefits of cocoa flavanols: what specific cognitive functions are affected by cocoa flavanols? And are the effects immediate?

The researchers sought to answer these questions and more by conducting an in-depth review of existing studies looking at the cognitive effects of cocoa flavanols.

In particular, the team looked at how cocoa flavanols affect cognitive functioning over time and within hours of consumption.

The researchers found that, while only a small number of randomized controlled trials have looked at the short-term effects of cocoa flavanols on cognitive function, they do point to some significant benefits.

The team uncovered evidence of a link between consumption of cocoa flavanols and almost immediate improvements in working memory. One study, for example, identified working memory improvements in young adults just 2 hours after consuming 773 milligrams of cocoa flavanols.

In another study, researchers found that consumption of cocoa flavanols appeared to offset cognitive impairment caused by a night of sleep deprivation.

However, the authors note that the reported acute effects of cocoa flavanols were dependent on the type of cognitive assessments that the studies used, as well as the length of these assessments. They found that it required highly demanding cognitive tests to detect the most subtle benefits of cocoa flavanol consumption.

 

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