If you’re always looking for an excuse for your daily or hourly chocolate fix, now you’ve got one – and it’s actually good for you.
A new study headed by neurology professor Scott Small of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and published in the October 26 issue of Nature Neuroscience, showed that some of the natural chemicals in cocoa increase blood flow in some parts of the brain – the effect of which was an improvement in the recognition abilities in the study participants.
The chemicals, called cocoa flavanols, have been the subject of previous memory studies that have shown some correlation between them and some memory functions, but this was the first study to attempt to show cause and effect.
Whether or not studies of the effect of such chemicals can lead to treatments for Alzheimers disease or other forms of dementia is somewhat doubtful as those conditions are highly complex and the negative effects cannot be attributed to one simple cause and effect. Instead, the hope is that the studies will lead to treatment for common age-related memory loss.
But before you make a chocolate run to your local supermarket, be aware that you’ll need to consume over two-dozen chocolate bars every day to get the amount of flavanols you need. That will make you very fat and probably cause you to develop diabetes, which will create all sorts of other problems. There is currently no commercially available supplement that will provide you with the daily 900 milligrams of flavanols that might be effective, but if large-scale studies end up proving cause and effect, you can bet Big Pharma will find a way to turn a profit.