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Indulge in a little chocolate to improve your memory!

Who doesn't love finding out when wine, coffee or chocolate is good for us? It gives us a great excuse to indulge! In fabulous food and health news, a new study found that cocoa may be linked to improving memory loss. 

The study conducted at Columbia University found that flavanols, a component of cocoa, could actually reverse at least one aspect of memory loss associated with normal aging. Better grab your favorite bar of dark chocolate!

The study consisted of 37 healthy individuals, between 50 and 69-years-old. Half were asked to consume a drink with 450 mg of cocoa flavanols twice a day for three months. The other half consumed only 10 mg daily. The researchers found that the high-flavanol group showed extraordinarily improved performance on a visual memory test. Their brain tests also lined up with the visual memory tests. 

"I think it provides proof of principle that diet could potentially reverse an aging process," says Scott Small, Professor of Neurology at Columbia’s Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain.

So how exactly does chocolate exactly improve the memory? Cocoa helps keep blood vessels supple as opposed to hardening over time. Cocoa also has anti-inflammatory properties.

"The cocoa flavanols are very promising and exciting in terms of their potential role for preventing heart disease, stroke and other vascular outcomes," says Dr. JoAnn Manson, a professor at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. 

However, don’t head to the convenience store and load up on chocolate bars just yet. Many types of flavanols are eliminated by the chocolate-manufacturing processes.

Plus, you’d need to chow down on 25 bars a day to get anything close to the level of flavanols used in the study. Not that we'd complain about plenty of chocolate but that's... a lot. 

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