Flavanols In Cocoa Can Reverse Age-Related Memory Loss, So Obviously We Should All Binge On Chocolate (JK, That’s A Bad Idea)

A new, convincing (albeit small) study in the journal Nature Neuroscience has shown that a chemical called flavanols extracted from cocoa beans can reverse age-related memory loss. The participants, aged 50 to 69, drank powdered cocoa flavanols mixed with milk or water and took memory tests. The group that took a higher dose of flavanols showed speed in memory and cognition that would reflect a 30-year reversal.

So, obviously, the thing to do is to go to CostCo and stock up on Hershey bars. OBVIOUSLY. JK, that’s a bad idea. The average candy bar has 40 milligrams of flavanols, whereas the higher-dose group of participants in the study were taking 900 milligrams a day, so that’s roughly 20 candy bars. I hadn’t really even thought about this until now, but a Hershey bar has 24 grams of sugar, whereas the recommended daily intake of sugar is 25 grams. So, yeah, if you want to eat 20 times as much sugar as you should for the sake of preserving your memory, go ahead, but you’ll increase the distinct possibility of not making it to being 50 to 69 years of age if you do that, anyway.

However, it is incredibly cool that flavanols seem to be as helpful as they are. The scientists studying flavanols don’t know how long the effects last yet, and the study was not spectacularly large, so the results are tentative. But it’s a naturally-derived substance that has promising preliminary results, which is encouraging given the increasing rates of memory — and cognition-related conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Maybe instead of eating sugar-laden chocolate, make cocoa nibs a regular snack! It can’t hurt.

[Nature Neuroscience]

[New Scientist]

[American Council on Science and Health]

[h/t iO9]

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