Chocolate Fights Memory Loss

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Can’t remember where you parked your car, or for that matter, where you placed your keys? You may be experiencing the typical memory changes associated with aging.

Although these changes are nothing to be worried about, they certainly can be a source of frustration, especially in middle-aged people.

Well, here's some good news: a component in chocolate may actually help you fight back. Yes, you read that right.

A study conducted by Columbia University found that cocoa flavanols reversed some of the memory changes associated with aging. The results were published in the online issue of Nature Neuroscience.

Chocolate Reverses Memory Loss

The purpose of the study was to determine the source of age-related memory loss in the brain and to test the benefits of cocoa on memory. A group of 37 people between the ages of 50-69 were assigned to drink a cocoa beverage for three months.

One drink contained a high concentration of flavanols (900 mg daily), while the other did not (10 mg). Brain function was assessed with MRI and memory tests were administered before and after the treatments. At the end of the study, it was shown that memory improved significantly in the high flavanol group.

They performed better on the memory tests and had marked improvements in the dentate gyrus, an area of the brain associated with memory. The memory changes associated with aging were reversed.1

According to Dr. Scott A. Small, one of the researchers in the study, “If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old.”2

The structure of the dentate gyrus deteriorates with age. Previous studies have associated structural changes of the dentate gyrus with aging. This study provides physical evidence in humans. More studies are needed to evaluate the long-term effects of cocoa on memory.

Eat More Flavanols, Not Candy Bars

Before you start reaching out for those sugar-loaded chocolate candy bars, keep this in mind. The chocolate used in the study was derived from raw cocoa, and it was processed to contain a high concentration of flavanols. The chocolate you’ll find in candy bars is lacking most of the nutrients found in raw chocolate.

Nevertheless, there are high quality chocolate bars available in health food markets. It just takes a little investigative work to find them.

The Bottom Line

Chocolate isn’t the only source of flavanols - you’ll also find them in tea, berries, wine, and citrus fruits. Make sure to include these foods in your diet as well!


  1. Nat Neurosci. 2014 Dec;17(12):1798-803. 
  2. Available at: Available at: Accessed December 9, 2014.


Unknown said...

Dark chocolate is brain tonic , it has the flavonoids that helps to activate the brain neurons to work efficiently.---- Dementia ; Alzheimer's are the age related outcome that finally takes over after one has passed a strained lifetime or suffered tense life... ---- this nature gift cocoa beans really do the targeted work of boosting the flavonoids , only if it is taken as 80 % to 90 % darker chocolate , or the common milk chocolates or the tastier nuts or sweet enjoyable candy bar may suit to kids only.

Anonymous said...

So, a serving of cocoa EVERY DAY for three months? It doesn't say.

Life Extension said...

Anonymous - Yes, a cocoa drink daily for three months.

Unknown said...

Thanks again for the details of Cocoa consumptions , nature's has been benevolent in every way to serve its living beings , thus contributes and partakes it enormous riches of minerals in every bit of kinds to nourish the living-beings with it sublimely distributions ubiquitously.

Unknown said...

Cocoa drink consumptions truly helps the brain power , but too much would spoil it nutritious value.

Life Extension said...

nisar rathod - With cocoa and with everything, moderation is key!

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