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A published in Hypertension suggests that drinking a hot cocoa every day might help maintain brain health in older adults.
The study, which was funded by cocoa powder maker Mars, Inc. involved 90 elderly participants suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which includes symptoms like difficulty with memory, language, thinking, or judgment.
The subjects were given the task to drink a cocoa drink that had high, medium, or low amounts of antioxidants called flavanols. Eight weeks later, those who got high and medium levels of flavanols in their drink did better on tests of attention and other mental skills, compared to people who got low amounts of flavanols.
Researchers believe that these flavanols could be one element of a dietary approach to the maintaining and improving not only of cardiovascular health, but also specifically brain health.
While the study says cocoa might have a modest effect on some aspects of cognition among people with MCI, it does not say that eating cocoa daily can help prevent MCI or Alzheimer's.