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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dark Chocolate Is Good for the Memory


Cocoa is an exceptional source of poly phenols, a class of molecules that are distinguished for their high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities which interferes with the development of several chronic diseases.

For example, the regular consumption of dark chocolate reduces the risk of being statistically touched by cardiovascular diseases: Several studies show that dark chocolate significantly reduces blood pressure and interferes with the formation of blood clots, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

These protective effects are observed only in dark chocolate containing at least 70% of cocoa paste: sweet chocolate tablets invading grocery stores and convenience stores contain only traces of cocoa paste lots of sugar, saturated fat and therefore lots of calories and therefore do not have much to do with real dark chocolate.

Fortunately, you can now easily find good 70% chocolate at very reasonable prices and these products deserves to be part of our daily eating habits. Dark chocolate is not a luxury reserved only for special occasions like Valentine's Day!

Each year, about 5% of people aged 70 and over are starting to show affection by a slight decline in their cognitive functions, manifested mostly by memory lost problems.
In short terms, those memory losses just cause minor inconveniences, but they can become more disabling if the neuron function continues to deteriorate while aging.
To determine whether the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of poly phenols present in dark chocolate could ameliorate cognitive functions, a team of Italian researchers recruited 90 volunteers aged 65 to 82 years (mean 71 years) who had clinical signs of a beginning of cognitive decline.

These individuals were divided into three groups, each of them took a daily drink of chocolate containing high amounts (990 mg) intermediate (520 mg) or low (45 mg) of poly phenols. In parallel, the diet of these people was closely monitored to eliminate any other sources of poly phenols a way to better discern the effects related to the consumption of presents molecules in chocolate.
After eight weeks of treatment, the cognitive function of those volunteers was determined with the aid of a battery of tests measuring memories, for both short-term and long termed cognitive functions in their set.

The results obtained are very interesting: compared to those of the group who drank a beverage low in poly phenols, those who consumed high quantities of these molecules showed a significant improvement of memory and had superiors cognitive functions during the test results, and those results only two months after having started the treatment!

The mechanisms responsible for these effects to remain positive has to be better understood, but it could be due to a significant improvement in the sensitivity to the action of insulin in people who consume high amounts of poly phenols.

Insulin is a very important hormone for the maintenance and function of brain cells and recent data indicate that resistance to this hormone, as observed in type 2 diabetes, contributes to cognitive decline and the development of the Alzheimer's disease.

Dark chocolate to counteract the loss of memory? A health advice, which should be unanimous!
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