Hot Chocolate May Be Good For Your Brain?

I have some great health news for you—hot chocolate may be good for your brain!

According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, a new study has found that hot chocolate may help improve brain health and thinking skills—particularly in older people.

The researchers looked at older people who had reduced blood flow to their brains and had performed poorly on a memory and reasoning test.  They had them drink two cups of cocoa a day for 30 days and then tested them again.  After drinking the hot chocolate for a month, they found significant improvement in their mental functioning.

In addition to the memory and reasoning tests, the researchers used ultrasound to indirectly measure the blood flow to the elderly people’s brains, as well as an MRI to examine their white matter — the nerve fibers that connect different parts of the brain.

At the end of the 30 days, the team found that drinking hot chocolate benefited only the people who had poor brain functioning to begin with.  Those individuals showed an 8% improvement in blood flow and a roughly 1 minute faster reaction time on the memory test.

There was barely any improvement among those who started out with normal blood flow and cognitive skills.

Although the study results may tempt you to add chocolate to your diet, the lead researcher notes that food intake was strictly regulated to offset the extra fat and sugar in hot chocolate.

For people seeking to keep their brains healthy, she recommends something already known to improve brain function: exercise.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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