When it comes to exercise we all know that it is great for your body, but one may question whether it is always good for the brain. When considering exercise or eating chocolate, which one is actually better for your aging brain? Most people are hoping that it is eating chocolate because who wouldn’t rather eat a bar of chocolate instead of walking a mile at the gym?
There is good news for chocolate lovers everywhere as a recent study conducted by researchers at NYU and Columbia University shows that eating flavanols that were extracted from cocoa powder actually enhanced the blood flow to an area of the brain that is responsible for memory formations.
This area of the brain is called the hippocampus. If you are thinking that this study simply sounds too good to be true, you are probably correct, but it is interesting none the less.
In the study half of the participants were provided with a small amount of flavanols and the other half were given a larger dose. These doses were taken for a period of three months. At the conclusion of the study it was found that those participants who were given a higher dose had an increase in memory function scores than the individuals who had taken the smaller dose.
Concerns about the Study
While everyone really wants this study to be true because once again who does not want to eat more chocolate, there are some concerns regarding the study.
One of the issues is that the study suggests that exercising does not have any effect on the participants, which is unlikely true. In addition, a person would have to eat a lot of chocolate in order to consume the higher dose of flavanols that were given to the participants.
The participants of the study ate a product that was specially prepared and had about a gram of flavanols. In comparison a hundred grams of cocoa powder only contains about 100 mg of flavanols. This study suggests that in order to get the amount of flavanols given to the participants a person would need to consume around 44 pounds of chocolate each day.
What this means is that eating quite a bit of chocolate could actually improve your memory, but it is not going to do much for your overall weight and health.
There have been other studies conducted about the effects of chocolate and your health and one study suggests that eating small amounts of chocolate each day could lower your risk of heart disease.
When it comes to your health the best thing to do is everything in moderation, this includes chocolate and other desserts. A healthy lifestyle will consist of exercise and a diet that is rich in vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and more. Throw in a piece of chocolate each day and you may reduce your stress and improve your memory a slight bit.
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