eMEMBERSHIP  LOGIN

Chocolate as Brain Booster

Posted on March 23, 2012, 6 a.m. in Brain and Mental Performance Functional Foods
Chocolate as Brain Booster

Flavanol is a potent type of antioxidant, a compound that is associated with the capacity to scavenge free radicals and consequently modulate oxidative stress. David Camfield, from Swinburne University (Australia), and colleagues engaged 63 subjects, ages 40 to 65 years, to drink a daily chocolate beverage over a 30-day study period. All participants received the chocolate drink, but in differing cocoa flavanol concentrations: the first group consumed 10 g of dark high-flavanol chocolate (corresponding to 500 mg cocoa flavanols), the second group received 10 g of conventional dark chocolate (250 mg of cocoa flavanols), and the third group received 10 g of dark chocolate (containing only a few cocoa flavanols). The researchers asked the subjects to perform spatial working memory tasks, during which concurrent  computer tomography brain scans were conducted. Whereas no differences were found between the groups regarding the accuracy or reaction times in performing the memory tasks, the team did observed via the brain scans that subjects who consumed the chocolate beverage containing either the medium or high proportion of cocoa flavanols were less strained by performing the tasks, as compared to those in the control group. Positive that these findings suggest that higher flavanol chocolate lowers stress levels in the brain, thereby allowing those subjects to achieve the same performance with lower resource usage, the study authors submit that their data provides " evidence of increased neural efficiency in spatial working memory function associated with chronic cocoa flavanol consumption.”

View news source…

D.A. Camfield, A. Scholey, A. Pipingas, R. Silberstein, M. Kras, K. Nolidin, et al.  “Steady state visually evoked potential (SSVEP) topography changes associated with cocoa flavanol consumption.”  Physiology & Behavior, Volume 105, Issue 4, 28 February 2012, Pages 948-957.

  

Health Headlines MORE »

Currently available drugs may help women at high risk of breast and ovarian cancers avoid the need for radical preventive surgery.
People who experience chronic sleep disturbances may be at risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease at an earlier age.
Bariatric surgery can dramatically reduce an obese person's risk of all-cause mortality and nearly halve their risk of heart attack and stroke.
Compounds in peaches may inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and their ability to spread.
Older people who have above-average muscle mass also have a significantly lower risk of dying from all-causes.
Chemotherapy may accelerate molecular aging to the equivalent to 15-years of normal aging.
Long after compulsory schooling ends, education continues to enhance cognitive functions.
A self-rated poor level of fitness in a person’s 50s may predict onset of dementia within the next three decades.
People who have a confident self-esteem tend to experience fewer health problems as they age.
Cells appearing normal may actually be harbingers of lung cancer.