Friday, June 30, 2017

A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands

The cocoa bean is a rich source of flavanols: a class of natural compounds that has neuroprotective effects.
Italian researchers examined the available literature for the effects of acute and chronic administration of cocoa flavanols on different cognitive domains. In other words: what happens to your brain up to a few hours after you eat cocoa flavanols, and what happens when you sustain such a cocoa flavanol enriched diet for a prolonged period of time?
Thinking clearly.
 Most studies point towards a beneficial effect on cognitive performance. Participants showed, among others, enhancements in working memory performance and improved visual information processing after having had cocoa flavanols. And for women, eating cocoa after a night of total sleep deprivation actually counteracted the cognitive impairment (i.e. less accuracy in performing tasks) that such a night brings about. Promising results for people that suffer from chronic sleep deprivation or work shifts.
The cocoa flavanols have beneficial effects for cardiovascular health and can increase cerebral blood volume in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. This structure is particularly affected by aging and therefore the potential source of age-related memory decline in humans.
I'm going to stop right here because it would be unconscionable, and, yes, it took me a while to figure out how to spell unconscionable,  -- and a clear violation of The Gumbo Blog Standards of Honorability -- to prevent you from rushing out to buy some dark chocolate.

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