Hot cocoa keeps the brain healthy

The project was carried out by researchers from Harvard's Medical School, it involved 60 people around 73 years old

A daily dose of hot cocoa to keep the brain healthy
Hot cocoa - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 02/01/2019 13:29 Newsroom Mexico City Actualizada 14:14

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Drinking two cups of hot cocoa per day could help the elderly keep their brains and thinking abilities healthy, according to a research project published in the magazine Neurology.

The project was carried out by researchers from Harvard's Medical School, it involved 60 people around 73 years old, who drank two cups of hot cocoa every day for a month. Half of them received hot cocoa rich in flavanols, while the others received cocoa with small amounts of this antioxidant.

The voluntaries participated in memory tests and thinking ability exercises. They also had MRI scans in order to measure their blood flow to the brain during the exercises.

“We're learning more about the blood flow in the brain and its effect in thinking abilities,” said Farzaneh Sorond, the study's author. This relation is called neurovascular coupling and it could play an important role in Alzheimer.

The study revealed that out of the 60 participants, 18 had deficient blood flows at the beginning of the project. Nevertheless, they showed an 8.3% improvement in the blood flow to the brain at the end of the experiment and improved their times when participating in memory tests.

Despite the results, researchers from the John Hopkins Medical School consider that the project needs more work to prove the link between cacao, blood flow issues, and cognitive impairment. “But it's an important first step that could guide future projects.”

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