The Power of Flavonoids
Chocolate contains flavonoids, which are a group of plant compounds that can be found naturally in many fruits and vegetables – and are in chocolate as well.
In the past, many clinical studies have proven that flavonoids:
- improve your metabolic and cardiovascular health and diabetes
- are anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombogenic (anti-clotting), and anti-cancerous.
The anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits improve blood flow to your brain to help you achieve optimum brain function. With each heartbeat, up to 25% of your blood is sent to your brain, where brain cells use between 20% and 50% of the oxygen and fuel in your blood!
Furthermore, your brain health and function is tied to your circulatory system and can be negatively impacted by inflammation in your body. While Alzheimer’s definitely has a genetic component, those with cardiovascular and inflammatory conditions have a particularly high risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and those with Alzheimer’s develop symptoms more quickly.
However, a new study published in the May 2017 edition of Frontiers in Nutrition and redistributed in Harvard Health Publications from Harvard Medical School reviewed the evidence to date on flavanols and determined that flavanols in dark chocolate and cocoa, among other foods, may truly benefit human brain function.
- Short-term consumption – A 2011 study of young adults found that two hours after consuming dark chocolate (which contains high flavanol content), memory and reaction time were better as compared to young adults who consumed white chocolate (which contains low flavanol content).
- Long-term consumption – A 2014 study found that adults ages 50 to 69 who took a cocoa supplement with high flavanol content for three months had better performance on tests of memory than those who took a low flavanol cocoa supplement.
- Immediately after consumption – Several studies showed that after the consumption of cocoa drinks, improved brain blood flow, oxygen levels, and nerve function were measured by imaging tests or tests of electrical activity in the brain.
Editor’s Note: Curious about another natural solution for improving brain health that doesn’t require a trip to the grocery store? Learn more about Brain Support, a natural brain supplement that improves mental focus, concentration and memory in all ages.