A international team of researchers discovered that certain elderly persons’ cognitive capacities may be improved by flavanol ingestion.
Previous studies have revealed a connection between eating flavanols and cognitive aging, albeit this connection may be diet-dependent.
Flavanols are naturally occurring substances that may be found in a number of foods, such as tea and grapes.
According to recent study, which was published on May 30 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, flavanols, a substance present in foods like cocoa, may improve memory in certain older persons.
The three-year research involved more than 3,500 participants.
A typical class of chemical is flavanols.Trusted Source is naturally present in many foods, such as grapes, chocolate, and tea.
the study’s findings
Researchers from a number of universities, including Columbia University, Harvard University, New York University, and the University of Reading in the UK, carried out the study.
Participants were split into two groups of almost similar size. The other received a placebo, while one received a flavanol dietary supplement.
To determine baseline health and memory scores, researchers employed instruments including Alternative Health Eating Index (aHEI) ratings and the Modified Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (ModRey).
Three years were spent monitoring the participants.
Those with the lowest aHEI scores (below 38), which the researchers claim “reflects a diet quality ranging from the US average to slightly below average,” showed the greatest gains.
They discovered that those who had a poor diet but took a flavanol supplement showed maintained memory gains compared to those who took a placebo.
500 milligrams of cocoa-based flavanols, a naturally occurring substance, were present in the tablet.
The food corporation Mars Inc. contributed to the study’s funding.
a concentration on “cognitive aging” as opposed to Alzheimer’s disease
It is crucial to remember that while a lot of research into memory in older persons tends to focus on illnesses like Alzheimer’s, research like his and his team’s is more focused on what is known as “cognitive aging,” according to Dr. Adam Brickman (PhD), one of the study’s authors.
“I believe that we are tapping into a memory system that we think changes with natural aging, based on the research that we have conducted over the past 15 years or so…Flavanol levels have decreased in a group of older persons who are generally healthy and normal.
Medium and high aHEI test score individuals did not see the same gains with the medication.
As practitioners and clients learn more about how nutrition might affect cognitive performance, according to Kelsey Costa (MS, RDN), research like this can have a big influence in the profession.
“Just as certain nutrients are important for growing brains, others are necessary for preserving cognitive function as we age. Prioritizing preventative nutrition is essential for aging healthily, and include dietary flavanols is a key component of this plan.
How to consume more flavanols
Although the study’s creators opted for flavanols derived from cocoa, there are many other possibilities, such as tea, berries, and grapes. According to Maya Feller (MS, RD, CDN), it is crucial to pick an accessible approach if you want to raise your flavanol levels.
Fruits, vegetables, tea, chocolate, fermented grapes, and other plants, including those mentioned above, contain flavanols. I often advise individuals to begin introducing plants into their diet by starting with ones that are economical, accessible, culturally appropriate, and enjoyable. There are several ways to include more plants in one’s diet, including canned, fresh, frozen, packaged, and jarred foods.
Some professionals are doubtful about the advantages.
It is crucial to highlight that other experts in the area are less certain that the study proves there are substantial advantages linked to higher levels of flavanol in those who do not have poor diets.
According to Dr. Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Glasgow, studies like this can give the “illusion of benefit,” and it would be much better for the average person not to immediately seek out a sharp increase in their flavanol intake.
People should continue doing the things that we are 100% certain protect against many illnesses, such as eating healthier (and fewer calories if overweight), moving around a little more, and sleeping well, as well as having conventional risk factors checked and, if necessary, improved.
Dr. Aedin Cassidy, Chair in Nutrition & Preventative Medicine at the Institute for Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast, and another individual who was not affiliated with the study stated in the same press release that the dosage recommended by the researchers is one that most people ought to be able to meet if they feel the need to make dietary changes.
The amount needed to provide these advantages in brain function is easily attainable; for instance, 500mg of flavanols would be present in 1 cup of tea, 6 pieces of dark chocolate, and a few servings of berries or apples.