Get Smart! Eat More Chocolate

At Herbsea, we believe fully in the healthy, longevity-promoting practice of eating a healthy diet plus taking nutrient-dense, wholesome supplements, such as our Fucosea Family, and natural remedies such as Dong Quai, when needed.

Every now and then we get excited when a positive study is published that validates eating a food most of us enjoy, and in this case, it’s chocolate!

A research team reviewed and analyzed published studies about the effects of chocolate constituents, such as cocoa flavanols, and how they impacted human health. Specifically, they honed in on how cocoa flavanols affected cognitive function, and how eating chocolate (cocoa) regularly for a long period of time affected brain health. Their scientific review was published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

Study participants showed, among others, enhancements in working memory performance and improved visual information processing after having had cocoa flavanols. And for women, eating cocoa after a night of total sleep deprivation actually counteracted the cognitive impairment (i.e. less accuracy in performing tasks) caused by insomnia. This may be promising for people who have sleep insufficiency.

Quite a few studies have concentrated on the effects of relatively long-term ingestion of cocoa flavanols (ranging from 5 days up to 3 months) in elderly people; the study authors found that in this population group, their cognitive performance showed improvements from consuming cocoa flavonols. Specifically, improvements were seen in areas of attention, processing speed, working memory, and verbal fluency. These effects were, noted the study review authors, most pronounced in older adults with a starting memory decline or other mild cognitive impairments.

Study authors Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara from the University of L’Aquila in Italy, concluded, “This result suggests the potential of cocoa flavanols to protect cognition in vulnerable populations over time by improving cognitive performance. If you look at the underlying mechanism, the cocoa flavanols have beneficial effects for cardiovascular health and can increase cerebral blood volume in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. This structure is particularly affected by aging and therefore the potential source of age-related memory decline in humans.”

We would like to add that dark chocolate – and cocoa without added sugar – will benefit you best; it also has cardiovascular support function (as shown in other studies). You can blend dark chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder with soft tofu for a healthy pudding, or sprinkle it onto a variety of healthy foods.

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