Chocolate may reverse age-related memory loss

A new study suggests that high concentrations of an antioxidant found in chocolate, flavanols, can reverse age-related memory loss in older adults.

The problem: In order to ingest the same amount of flavanols used in the study, you’d need to eat more than 20 chocolate bars a day.

Flavanols are removed from many chocolates by a process called “dutching.”

The study was financed by the chocolate industry, so take it with a grain of cocoa.

chocolateInterestingly, the study found that flavanols did not seem to affect the part of the brain impaired by Alzheimer’s. This backed up the theory that age-related memory loss is something distinctly different from Alzheimer’s.

According to the NYT, even if you ate dark chocolate, which contains a higher concentration of flavanols as compared to regular chocolate, you’d still have to eat 300g of dark chocolate a day, which is equal to seven average sized candy bars.

I know the Ghirardelli chocolate I use for baking is 100g per bar, so you’d still need to eat 3 of those per day, which is quite a lot. Especially when you take into account that you’d be eating 27g of saturated fat, or 129% of your recommended daily maximum.

Another odd thing the study found: exercise didn’t seem to help memory improvement (though they think it’s possible that in older brains you need a larger amount, or more vigorous, exercise in order to produce a memory benefit).

Flavanols apparently keep blood vessels from hardening, and they also play an anti-inflammatory role. Apparently, a number of small studies have linked flavanols to lower risks of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and diabetes.

Though, you might want to watch the 25 chocolate bar a day diet if you’re worried about diabetes.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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