Cocoa has been found to reverse age related memory loss and give people in their sixties the memory of a “typical 30 year-old”.
In what is a previously unknown benefit of the chocolate ingredient, scientists have found that flavanols — the antioxidants inside cocoa beans reversed age-related memory decline in healthy older adults.
As people age, they typically show some decline in cognitive abilities, including learning and remembering such things as the names of new acquaintances or where one parked the car or placed one’s keys.
This normal age-related memory decline starts in early adulthood but usually does not have any noticeable impact on quality of life until people reach their fifties or sixties.
Age-related memory decline is different from the often-devastating memory impairment that occurs with Alzheimer’s, in which a disease process damages and destroys neurons in various parts of the brain, including the memory circuits.
Dietary cocoa flavanols are naturally occurring bio-actives found in cocoa according to the study led by Columbia University Medical Centre (CUMC) scientists.
The study provides the first direct evidence that one component of age-related memory decline in humans is caused by changes in a specific region of the brain and that this form of memory decline can be improved by a dietary intervention.