- Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Researchers in Italy have found consuming flavanol-rich cocoa once a day may help improve brain function in people with mild cognitive impairment. The study is published on 13 August in the journal Hypertension.
Dr Laura Phipps at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:
“Cocoa-based treatments for brain function would likely have patients queuing out the door, but this small study of flavanols is not yet conclusive. It’s not clear from the research whether other factors may have been responsible for the improvements seen in the group of people who took part. This early-stage trial took place over a very short period, and it would be useful to see more long-term studies to investigate the lasting effects. Ultimately we would need to see the results of large-scale trials to know whether cocoa flavanols could help prevent or delay dementia.
“While we do not yet have a sure-fire way to prevent dementia, the best evidence for lowering your risk is to eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Regular exercise, keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol in check and not smoking have also been shown to reduce the risk of dementia.
“Currently 820,000 people are affected by dementia in the UK and with that number rising, we urgently need to find a way to prevent the condition – but this can only come through research.”
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