Drinking cocoa every day may help older people keep their brains healthy, research suggests. A study of 60 elderly people with no dementia found two cups of cocoa a day improved blood flow to the brain.
Those participants whose blood flow improved also did better on memory tests at the end of the study, the journal Neurology reported.
It is not the first time cocoa has been linked with vascular health and researchers believe that this is in part due to it being rich in flavanols.
In the latest study, researchers asked 60 people with an average age of 73 to drink two cups of cocoa a day — one group given high-flavanol cocoa and another a low-flavanol cocoa — and consume no other chocolate.
Whichever drink they were given, 88 percent of those with impaired blood flow at the start of the study saw improvements in blood flow and some cognitive tests, compared with 37 percent of people whose blood flow was normal at the beginning of the study.