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How cocoa flavanols improve brain function


In addition to the body, also the mental health is strongly influenced bydiet daily.

We've been talking about many for a long time beneficial properties of cocoa he was born in dark chocolatebut more would be added to those already known a new.

Through a study conducted by University of Birmingham and of theIllinois it was in fact discovered that cocoa it would help improve mental agilityenhancing speed and brilliance of execution, in young and healthy adults.

According to the research, published on Scientific Reports, the credit would go to the gods flavanoli contained within the cocoa.

Benefits of Cocoa

Cacao e cchocolateespecially that one darkI am rich in antioxidantsreal cure-alls for the body that are good for just about everything: from digestion to cardiovascular health and the brain.

These are all the specific benefits of dark chocolate.

Other antioxidant drinks are a herbal tea based on red sage or Karkadè.

The tryptophan and magnesium present within them, for example, stimulate the synthesis of serotoninthe happiness hormone, and improve the quality of sleep.

Cocoa also helps natural endorphin production.

And molecules such as catechin and epicatechin help the balance of the intestine and influence insulin resistance, decreasing the risk of diabetes.

Without forgetting the great help that eating a square of dark chocolate regularly can give to maintaining health memory.

The most valuable antioxidant: flavanol

Among the positive substances present in cacao, the most precious one for the organism, capable of really having an impact in terms of well-being, is the flavanolo, which is also found in other plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, tea and red wine. This antioxidant molecule improves elasticity of the blood vesselspromotes lowering blood pressure, reduces tiredness and improves memory.

If several studies had already shown for some time that this last effect was especially true in elderly people, the new study proves that flavanols improve cognitive performance even in young, healthy individuals.

How the research was carried out

To reach this conclusion, researchers of the Universities of Birmingham and Illinois at Urbana-Champaign examined 18 male adults between 18 and 45 years oldnon-smokers and without histories of previous cerebral, cardiac, vascular or respiratory diseases.

The group was randomly divided into two subgroups: the members of one were made to drink a drink at natural cocoa, rich in flavanols, and to the others an apparently identical drink but in reality weakened and with very low levels of flavanols. No one during the experiment was aware of what type of cocoa they were eating.

The link between cocoa and brain health

After two hours, each person was asked to breathe air containing 5% of carbon dioxidea standard and often used method to challenge the cerebral vasculature and study its reactions.

“The normal response of the body subjected to this type of stress would be to increase blood flow to the brain, bringing more oxygen and therefore allowing carbon dioxide to be eliminated,” explained the co-author of the research, Gabriele Gratton. «What we noticed in this case is that the group whose participants ate cocoa concentrated in flavanols proved to be better able to protect yourself from excess carbon dioxide compared to the other.”

More specifically, “maximum oxygenation levels were more than three times higher in those who had eaten cocoa with a high content of the beneficial molecule, compared to one with a low content, and the oxygenation response was about a minute faster”, specified one of the researchers of the study, Catarina Randeiro.

An afternoon nap would also be very useful to improve brain capacity in the over 60s
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The results of the study

This greater brain activity has been demonstrated by the results of cognitive tests with progressive difficulty that the researchers had performed before and after taking the drink.

Those who consumed the cocoa-based drink enriched with flavanols actually fared better in solving the required tests than those who had not.

All of them also delivered the solutions faster and more accurately, finishing the exercises on average a minute before the others.


«Having taken the drink rich in flavanols clearly proved to be a advantage solo when the test became more complicated. And this result suggests that these elements could be useful not only for elderly people as we believed, but also for young and healthy people, who could therefore wisely decide to take a dose of cocoa or chocolate before or during particularly demanding and important appointments or tests since cognitive point of view”, explained researcher Catarina Randeiro.

Based on these results, it can therefore be stated that the cacao can support brain health and cognitive functioning in most people. During the experiment, in fact, only 4 participants did not see improvements, but these were subjects who already had very high oxygenation responses before the study. This may indicate that those with higher-than-normal mental speed have little room for improvement.

Be careful, alcohol can cause brain damage.

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