Research shows that chocolate can help problems in people who are experiencing dementia (functional impairment due to brain disorders). However, experts caution that the study is just the beginning and done on a small scale so that these findings do not encourage someone to think that drinking two cups of chocolate a day will certainly prevent them from dementia.
Chocolate Helps Increase Blood Flow to The Brain
Previous research suggests that chocolate can help improve blood flow to the brain in people with early signs of vascular dementia. And a recent small study showed that people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, and memory problems, managed to perform better on cognitive tests after drinking hot chocolate for a month.
Drinking chocolate is also known to increase blood flow to the brain. Vascular dementia includes confusion, difficulty speaking, loss of vision, and memory loss, caused by lack of blood supply that carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
New research published in the journal Neurology, was not to encourage doctors to have suggested eating chocolate on their patients but to test potential new methods in detecting vascular dementia early before symptoms appear.
“This is potentially the first step in identifying a person at risk for developing dementia before they develop it deeper,” said Farzaneh A. Sorond, a vascular neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “If we could find a way to identify vascular dementia before this disorder damaging neurons and blood vessels, it is possible to prevent it.”
The study involved 60 people aged 65 years and older with risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes. They were asked to drink two cups of hot chocolate a day. The chocolate is provided by candy maker Mars, Inc.
Approximately one-third of participants known to have early signs of memory problems. After participating in a series of such studies, they showed an improvement in blood flow to the brain and performance on cognitive tests after a month of drinking chocolate.
According to Heather Snyder from the Alzheimer’s Association, this research is still early, and on a small scale, so it is not intended to give the notion of the people that drinking chocolate can recover them from dementia.
“I do not think we can draw the conclusion from this study about whether drinking chocolate is a potential therapy,” she said.
According to Sorond, is a dangerous thing if someone consumes a lot of chocolate in a day without taking into account the intake of calories obtained from other foods. A cup of chocolate used in this study contains 100 calories, so the researchers are careful to make sure and tell the participant that they have taken ‘quota’ 200 calories per day during the study of a number of their daily calorie needs.
“I’m afraid the people who have vascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, began drinking chocolate and unconsciously consume calories, fat, and sugar in excess,” said Sorond. “It might be dangerous for them.”
Therefore, she suggested to keep control of the intake of calories in the body and eating chocolate in moderation.