Sunday, February 26, 2017

Okay, I'll bite -- DOES chocolate improve memory?


"The analysis showed that scores for most aspects of cognitive function rose with the level of chocolate intake, regardless of other dietary habits."
-- from a Health After 50 post (see below)

by Ken

Okay, we're supposed to be finishing up with what Joan Didion saw, on her Gulf Coast road trip in summer 1970 (as seen in the notes she assembled on that trip, now published in the book South and West), that seemed counterintuitive at the time but now casts dark shadows over our body politic, including such unexpected developments as the ABC sitcom The Real O'Neals.

On Friday we got as far, traveling with Nathaniel Rich (in his March 9 New York Review of Books journey through the new Didion book), as this, regarding the "kind of thinking" Didion encountered in the Deep South in 1970, which he says "seemed retrograde in the Seventies." And:
From the vantage of New York, California, even New Orleans, it still seems so today. But this southern frame of mind has annexed territory in the last four decades, expanding across the Mason-Dixon Line into the rest of rural America. It has taken root among people -- or at least registered voters -- nostalgic for a more orderly past.
Maybe Wednesday we can get to the finish of this. For now, once again the crush of breaking news forces our attention elsewhere.
Does Chocolate Improve Memory?

by HealthAfter50

It's well-established that eating chocolate and cocoa is linked to cardiovascular benefits. Now, a study in the May 2016 issue of Appetite suggests that eating chocolate regularly is associated with positive cognitive performance as well.

Study participants, including 968 individuals from 23 to 98 years of age, completed a dietary questionnaire to indicate how often they ate a variety of foods (including chocolate, of course): never, seldom, once a week, two to four times a week, five to six times a week, or once or more each day.

Using a battery of standardized tests, investigators then assessed various aspects of participants’ cognitive function, including visual-spatial memory and organization, abstract verbal reasoning, and overall cognitive functioning.

The analysis showed that scores for most aspects of cognitive function rose with the level of chocolate intake, regardless of other dietary habits. Even after investigators adjusted these findings for demographic and other factors, most of these positive associations remained.

But if you reach for that chocolate bar, keep in mind that though this study did not ascertain what types of chocolate participants ate, earlier research indicates that flavanols -- naturally occurring compounds found in high concentrations in dark varieties of chocolate -- likely account for this food’s beneficial effects.


The way I remember it, the purported health benefits from eating dark chocolate depend on eating a quantity of the stuff that any health professional would be drummed out of the association for recommending. Then again, it could just be my memory playing tricks on me on account of I haven't, you know, eaten enough chocolate lately. I may have to go out and round up a Hershey Bar. The Special Dark variety, of course. Just to be sure I remember what I'm after, I may need to score some chocolate en route.



At 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said... prolly not. I eat prodigious amounts of (dark only) chocolate and my memory is still rapidly going to shit.

Or maybe without the chocolate I'd be a zombie. I don't know.

At this point in time, I think zombies are the lucky ones.


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