Chocolate’s boost to brain power is focus of new study

Can the antioxidant-rich cocoa in chocolate help preserve brain power?

The health attributes of chocolate and cocoa are to be explored in a major university study in Scotland.

From now until May 2018, men and women aged 50 to 60 in Edinburgh and the Lothians will be assessed to find out whether consuming antioxidant-rich chocolate or cocoa powder can play a role in maintaining and preserving brain power and general health.

Series of cognitive tests

The study, conducted by scientists at Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Edinburgh, includes a series of cognitive tests, questionnaires and body composition tests.

Researchers at QMU have previously assessed the antioxidant content of a variety of food products, including sea buckthorn and various types of tea and fruit juices.

The externally-funded research is part of the University’s Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research. Dr Iain Gow, who is leading the study, said there was a lot of media interest around the role of chocolate in health and prevention.

‘The role of poylphenols’

“Current research into the role of food in the maintenance and preservation of cognitive function points to the role of polyphenols, a group of compounds present naturally in fruit and vegetables.”

The purpose of this study was to try to understand if and how these antioxidants affect our cognitive abilities as we age, he claimed. “It is an opportunity to explore how some of the everyday components of nutrition and diet might exert a positive role on ageing.”

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