A scientific study published in the British magazine “Nature” showed that a diet rich in cocoa flavanols – a natural substance found in cocoa seeds – is enough to reduce the decline in mental abilities with age.
A person’s memory usually begins to decline starting from puberty, but its results do not appear before the age of fifty or sixty.
Researchers at Columbia University conducted tests on 37 volunteers, aged between fifty and sixty.
The volunteers were divided into two groups, the members of one of which drank drinks rich in flavanols (900 milligrams) daily, over a period of three months, while the members of the second group drank drinks with low levels of this substance (10 milligrams).
After the test period had passed, the volunteers’ brains were monitored using brain imaging techniques, and the results showed an increase in blood pumping to parts of the hippocampus in the brain in those who consumed large amounts of flavanols. These parts perform functions related to memory and their efficiency declines over the years.
The volunteers then underwent a test to remember certain shapes over a period of 20 minutes, and it was found that the first group had a higher ability to do so.
Scott Small, the study supervisor, confirmed that the participants “who had a memory in their sixties before starting the study had a memory in their thirties or forties” afterward. However, the researcher called for not rushing to draw conclusions and for delving into related research.