There’s more than one way to help protect your memory as you get older. Eating more fish can preserve your brain. Avoiding anxiety may also lower your risk of facing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Now new research points to yet another natural solution for saving your brain:
Cocoa. Just not the kind you sip from a mug with marshmallows.
A group of researchers at Columbia University Medical Center looked 37 healthy subjects. They were all between 50 and 69 years-old. The team took brain images of each person. They did this to measure the amount of blood in their dentate gyrus (DG). It’s a region in your brain that declines with aging. This makes it a possible source of age-related memory loss.
The subjects drank a flavanol-rich cocoa drink every day for 12 weeks. One group’s drink had 900 mg of flavanols. The other just 10 mg. They all took memory tests specific to the DG. This included pattern recognition.
By the end of the study, researchers found that DG function improved in the high-flavanol group.1 This meant more blood in that part of the brain. It also meant better performance on memory tests. But there’s something that makes this test not sit right with us…
The flavanols came from a drink made by the Mars candy corporation.2 They’re the makers of Snickers, Twix, M&M’s, and, of course, the Mars bar. Not exactly health food. Though they won’t name the drink, we have to assume they’re talking about CocoaVia. A drink manufactured by Mars, naturally.
It’s a powder you stir into your beverage to give you a dose of flavanols extracted from real cocoa. It seems convenient. And it doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. But the regular, sweetened version contains soy. It also uses maltodextrin. You can find this sweet “glue” in sodas and candy.3 To their credit, they also offer an unsweetened, soy-free version. It even delivers more flavanols per serving…
But there’s a better, natural way to start getting real cocoa flavanols.
Raw cacao butter doesn’t taste like traditional chocolate. It’s the creamy result of pressing cacao nibs. Eating it gives you more antioxidants than you’ll get from any other food on the planet. It has twice the antioxidant power of acai, goji, and blueberries combined.4 Not to mention you can get it 100% raw, unprocessed, and organic.
There’s no doubt that cocoa flavanols can help keeping your brain sharp as you age… Even help prevent cognitive decline. But why get them from a processed packet when you can find them in their natural form? You can find raw cacao butter in most health stores. If yours doesn’t have it, you should be able to get it online.