News / Health

Hot Chocolate May Help Keep Older Brains Healthy

A cup of hot cocoa is seen on a table in Concord, New Hampshire.
A cup of hot cocoa is seen on a table in Concord, New Hampshire.
Faith Lapidus
As if we needed another reason to love chocolate, it turns out hot cocoa could be good for you. A new study says drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may help older brains remain sharp.

A common form of dementia is caused by problems in the supply of blood to the brain. Harvard Medical School neurologist Farzaneh Sorond wanted to understand how blood flow in the brain affected thinking skills. She studied a group of 60 older people, with an average age of 73, who did not have dementia. Eighteen, however, had impaired blood flow in their brain.

The participants drank two cups of hot cocoa a day for a month. They were given tests of memory and thinking, and Sorond used an ultrasound to measure blood flow during the tests. She found that blood flow to the working parts of the brain increased with the cognitive tasks.

By the end of the study, the participants who had impaired blood flow had significantly improved their scores on the tests, and showed an 8.3 percent improvement in blood flow. The other participants had no change in their performance and blood flow.

There is a hypothesis that the antioxidant flavanol, which is found in cocoa, helps cognition. Alzheimer's expert Paul Rosenberg, who wrote an editorial accompanying Sorond's study in the journal Neurology, said that theory, however, did not hold up.

"Her findings go against that. She [Sorond] tested cocoa that was rich in flavanol and poor in flavanol, and she found no difference," said Rosenberg.

Rosenberg, of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, called her study "an important first step" toward future studies, though, that could lead to better drugs or treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

"Dr. Sorond's a friend, so we've talked about this, and neither of us are quite ready to jump out and say, 'take cocoa.' But it's possible there may be a drug to develop that's sitting inside your cocoa," he said.

And until then, we can enjoy hot chocolate - maybe with some whipped cream - simply because it tastes good!

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mhey from: Cordillera
August 08, 2013 6:59 PM
It depend,chocolate just make you awake

by: Safa from: Adelaide
August 08, 2013 3:25 AM
Wow!I'm going to try it asap because sometimes I forget things these days!maybe not having alhzeimer in close future!

by: seniorskiss.com from: new york city
August 08, 2013 1:45 AM
Amazing, isn't it? The medical community comes out with study after study on how we should live our lives, but nothing about their inability to cure a single disease in the last 50 years.

by: Garen from: USA
August 08, 2013 1:34 AM
Chocolate in any form is good. A glass of champagne with any form of chocolate (cakes, cookies, etc.) helps absorb the good nutrients of chocolate a lot faster!

by: Wudhesay from: usa
August 07, 2013 8:59 PM
Are you sure? Or is it because that commodity is taking a hard hit on the markets? Bad!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More