The decline of mental function is a daunting thought.
Sadly our cognitive function declines with aging, and also for those who suffer from sleep deprivation.
Since aging is inevitable, and sleep deprivation is all too common, improving our lives by enhancing our cognitive facilities would be the top priority for most.
Recent and exciting research has looked into the effect of food compounds on mental function, with a very promising candidate...Cocoa!
Here are the well accepted activities to improve cognition as we age:
- Regular exercise (both aerobic, aka cardio, and strength training)
- Healthful, nutritious and diverse diet
- Positive challenges for the brain (such as sudoku, crosswords, and language learning)
There are some things we can do
Recently, Dr. Valentina Socci and her team in Italy recently published a review of all available literature examining the effects of cocoa and healthy cognition. Her findings point cocoa to a new nutraceutical tool to protect human cognition and counteract different types of cognitive decline.
"In recent years, cocoa and cocoa-derived products, as a rich source of flavonoids, mainly the flavanols sub-class, have been clearly shown to exert cardiovascular benefits. More recently neuromodulation and neuroprotective actions have been also suggested."
"Cocoa and cocoa-derived food have been suggested to possess the potential to counteract cognitive decline and sustain cognitive abilities, particularly among patients at risk."
Her research has identified that cognitive performance is improved by a daily intake of cocoa flavanols. Factors can be greatly improved such as:
- general cognition
- verbal fluency
- processing speed, and
- working memory
Cocoa could potentially enhance normal cognitive function and exert a protective role on cognitive performance and cardiovascular function, specifically impaired by sleep loss in healthy subjects.
Dr. Socci and her colleagues also identified that cocoa consumption enhanced memory performance and improved visual information processing.
Women and Cocoa
Particularly for women, eating cocoa after a night of sleep deprivation actually counteracted the cognitive impairment. These are promising findings for people who suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, or shift workers.
Aus Natural Protein's Organic Artisan Cocoa, uses only the finest quality single origin cacao beans which have been ethically sourced and then roasted in small batches using traditional, artisan equipment and ancestral methods. This allows time for the bean's inherent flavour to emerge.
The result is a truly unique cocoa powder which requires no other flavourings or enhancers to achieve such an incredible taste.
Socci Valentina, Tempesta Daniela, Desideri Giovambattista, De Gennaro Luigi, Ferrara Michele, Vol 4; Frontiers in Nutrition: Enhancing Human Cognition with Cocoa Flavonoids, 2017
"Cocoa and chocolate are not just treats -- they are good for your cognition: Cocoa can be seen as a dietary supplement to protect human cognition and can counteract different types of cognitive decline." ScienceDaily, 29 June 2017.