A recent study showed that compounds found in chocolate might help boost memory skills that have been lost with age. But before you start downing candy bars to boost your brain function, you may want to check out a few caveats.
According to a study published in Nature Neuroscience, a small group of healthy people ages 50 to 69 performed better on a memory test after drinking cocoa flavanols than those who did not. The research is promising, and in line with similar findings from other research, but should be seen only as an “opening salvo,” according to one neurobiologist.
First, to get the amount of flavanols consumed in the study simply from chocolate, you’d need to eat around seven bars of dark chocolate a day, and that’s assuming the way the bars were processed left most of the flavanols intact, which isn’t always the case.
Second, the study was partially funded by Mars, the company best known for, yeah, making chocolate. Scott A. Small, MD, the neurologist who conducted the study at Columbia University Medical Center, said Mars proved to him they were serious about science.
Yet, as the New York Times points out, “The findings support recent research linking flavanols, especially epicatechin, to improved blood circulation, heart health and memory in mice, snails and humans.”
And as with any study supporting the intake of a guilty pleasure, be it beer, red wine or chocolate, we might as well believe it until we hear otherwise.