Study links cocoa with improved cognitive function

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cocoa flavanol consumption improves cognitive function, blood pressure control and metabolic profile in elderly subjects.

The Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) Study — a randomized controlled trial —aimed to evaluate the effect of flavanol consumption on cognitive performance in cognitively intact elderly subjects.

During the study 90 elderly individuals without clinical evidence of cognitive dysfunction were randomly assigned to consume daily for eight weeks a drink containing 993mg high flavanol, 520mg intermediate flavanol , or 48mg low flavanol cocoa flavanols. Cognitive function was assessed at baseline and at the end of the eight-week period.

The study found evidence that regular consumption of cocoa flavanols can reduce some measures of age-related cognitive dysfunction, possibly through an improvement in insulin sensitivity. The data suggests that the habitual intake of flavanols can support healthy cognitive function with age.

The study’s lead author Dr Giovambattista Desideri said that more research was needed to study the possibility that insulin resistance has an influential role in modulating cognitive function in elderly subjects.