Chocolate could help stave off dementia by increasing blood flow to a part of the brain that helps with memory, suggests new research.
The study found that a key ingredient in chocolate may even reverse age-related memory decline in healthy older people.
Research showed antioxidants in cocoa - called dietary cocoa flavanols - helped improve the memory of pensioners.
The study found that a key ingredient in chocolate may even reversed age-related memory decline in healthy older people. File picture
The findings, published online by the journal Nature Neuroscience, strengthen the link between a specific brain region and normal memory decline.
Researchers examined whether cocoa flavanols would enhance brain function and cognitive performance in 37 people, aged 50 to 69, who were given either a high or a low dose of cocoa flavanols for three months.They found that in a delayed-recognition memory task the participants who consumed a high dose of cocoa flavanols over three months were much faster than those who received a low flavanol dose.
Dr Clare Walton, research manager at the Alzheimer's Society, said: 'This well-designed but small study suggests the antioxidants found in cocoa can improve cognitive performance by improving blood flow to a certain region of the brain.
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