Take a Bite: Dark Chocolate Can Protect Brain From Ageing, Say Experts

NDTV Food Desk  |  Updated: April 24, 2017 11:52 IST

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Take a Bite: Dark Chocolate Can Protect Brain From Ageing, Say Experts
Dark chocolate has been bringing comfort to millions across the globe. There is no real excuse to treat yourself with a bar and enjoy its captivating taste. Not only is dark chocolate hit with chocolate lovers, chefs and bakers all across the globe, it has gained popularity among health fanatics and experts too. Now you have another reason to indulge in that bar and even take a bigger bite. Experts have linked dark chocolate consumption with a bevy of health benefits. Dark chocolate is believed to be good for the heart, memory as well as ageing. This treasure food, that dates back to 2000 BC, is trusted to have age-reversing, skin-benefiting properties. "Cocoa is rich in plant chemicals called flavanols that may help to protect the heart. Dark chocolate contains up to 2-3 times more flavanol-rich cocoa solids than milk chocolate," Harvard T.H Chan, School of Public Health.

Dark chocolate consumption is also linked to lowering hypertension. It comes packed with essential nutrients like iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and flavanols. A recent study published in the journal Experimental Biology suggests that eating dark chocolate in moderation may protect your brain from age-related stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress and inflammation increase with ageing and are thought to play an important role in the development of neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
 
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"We previously reported on the beneficial effects of treatment with the cacao flavanol on ageing-induced oxidative stress and capacity to restore modulators of mitochondrial biogenesis in the prefrontal cortex of 26-month-old mice. In the current study, using a similar mouse model of ageing, we examined the capacity of Epi to mitigate hippocampus oxidative stress and inflammation leading to improved memory and anxiety levels" researchers said.

In a study, researchers from the University of California San Diego in the US showed that the epicatechin (Epi), a flavanol found in foods such as dark chocolate, reduced damaging oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in a mouse model of ageing.

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Just two weeks of treatment with epicatechin not only suppressed levels of oxidative stress and neuroinflammation that would normally be increased in this mouse model, but also improved memory and anxiety levels in the mice.

The findings may help explain the beneficial effects on memory seen in people who consume dark chocolate, researchers said.



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Inputs from PTI



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