Cocoa consumption could improve cognition and other brain functions

Consuming a flavanol-rich diet could be beneficial for improving cognition among adults and also cerebral cortical oxygenation, a new article in Scientific Reports determined.

The study included 18 male participants in early and mid-adulthood who underwent brain imaging tests and other exams used to capture changes in blood oxygenation levels.

A series of tests were conducted before and after the consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa drinks.

The research team at the University of Birmingham who conducted the study was able to demonstrate that cocoa rich in flavanols resulted in increased tissue oxygenation responses in frontal areas of the brain during tests of the participants.

Flavanols were also determined to have boosted cognitive performance among the adult participants.

“We have demonstrated that acute flavanol intake can improve efficiency in blood oxygenation during hypercapnia in frontal cortical areas of young healthy subjects and that it is likely to contribute to improvements in cognitive function, but only when cognitive demands are high,” the study’s authors wrote in their Nature article.

“Our data can potentially open new avenues for precision-medicine research with regard to understanding individual responses to flavanol intake and helping to identify populations that might benefit the most from these interventions.”

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