It’s sweet. It’s delicious.
And it instantly boosts your brain health, according to a new study conducted by scientists from the University of Birmingham and published in the journal Scientific Reports.
What’s more, it comes in various forms from the foods we all love to eat and drinks we all love to drink.
Flavanols are a group of flavonoids that appear in especially high amounts in cocoa, grapes, red wine, berries, citrus fruit, onions, parsley, and tea.
It has proven benefits for cardiovascular health, but the researchers decided to establish exactly what effects it has on the brain and cognitive abilities.
They recruited 18 adult subjects who were non-smokers and free of brain, heart, and respiratory diseases.
The researchers devised two trials: one in which the subjects received a cocoa drink enriched with flavanols and another in which they received a plain cocoa drink.
The researchers conducted the same tests after both trials to see whether subjects performed better after drinking the flavanol-enriched drink.
The first test consisted of the inhalation of air with 5% carbon dioxide two hours after consumption of the cocoa drinks. This is air with carbon dioxide at approximately 100 times the normal level.
This is a common test for checking how well the brain’s blood vessels work, because our bodies usually respond to high carbon dioxide levels by increasing blood flow to the brain. This helps to protect the brain from oxygen starvation, as the blood contains oxygen.
The scientists discovered that the subjects who drank the flavanol-enriched drink had three times more oxygen in their brains than those who drank the normal cocoa drink, and that their brains were one minute quicker in oxygenating.
This proves that the vascular structures of brains on a high amount of flavanols are superior to those of brains on fewer flavanols.
But the scientists did not stop here. They also gave their subjects some cognitive tests that ranged from easy to complex.
They noticed that the subjects taking the flavanol-enriched drink were better at completing complex cognitive tasks, and that they managed to complete them 11% faster than the other subjects did.
Therefore, people’s brains recover faster from a vascular challenge and perform better on complex tasks after they’ve consumed flavanols.
Another interesting finding was that 14 of the 18 participants benefited from the flavanols.
The researchers noticed that the minority that did not benefit already showed high performance on oxygenation and cognitive tests without the flavanols, and speculated that they were probably fit, healthy dieters who had little room for improvement from additional flavanols.
This Enjoyable Activity Defeats Dementia and Boost Brain Health
The traditional medical system has no solution for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. There are no drugs that cure it or stop it from progressing.
That’s why we celebrate a new study in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences.
It reveals how a quite pleasant activity can change your brain’s microstructure to tackle dementia.
The scientists from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health recruited 293 people with an average age of 83 years.
The data were originally collected by something called the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study.
They specifically collected information regarding social interaction and the frequency of their social interaction, such as whether they were married, lived alone, worked, volunteered in church, or engaged in other activities, such as regularly getting together with friends or relatives, and so forth.
They also gave their subjects a new sensitive brain scan called diffusion tensor imaging MRI, which measures the cellular integrity of the brain cells that make up several parts of the grey matter in the brain.
In particular, the scientists were interested in the gray matter in parts of the brain that had previously been associated with both social engagement and dementia.
They found exactly what they expected: that greater social engagement helped maintain the microstructure of the gray matter, thereby maintaining the cells that need to stay alive to prevent dementia.
The researchers attributed this finding to the fact that social interaction activates regions of the brain required for emotional processing, decision-making, and the recognition of faces and relationship histories.
Best of all, seniors don’t have to turn into social butterflies to receive this benefit. Once or twice per week is enough.
Neither do they have to go out and meet large groups of people in busy environments. Merely interacting with one or two relatives at home is sufficient.
Being social is helpful, but it’s probably not going to be enough to completely reverse dementia, especially if you’re already experiencing some memory loss. For that, you need to load up on one free ingredient explained here…
Boost Brain Health – High-protein Diet May Cause Alzheimer’s
Those who are fan of high-protein weight loss diets, beware! You may be putting yourself at a greater risk to Alzheimer’s disease. New studies points that high-protein diet may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s.
Researchers studied the link between the progression of Alzheimer’s in mice and different diets. In this research, mice were given four different diets:
– low fat diet / high carb
– low carb diet / high fat
– low carb diet / high protein
– regular diet
After feeding mice on these four diets for some time, the researchers measured the weight of their body, as well as their mind. Researchers also studied the buildup of plaque in the sections of the brain that are responsible for cognitive functions – these sections of the brain are most affected in Alzheimer’s.
The researchers found that total brain size of the mice that were given a low carb / high protein diet had shrunk by 5%. It was also found that certain regions of hippocampus – one of the first part of the brain that suffer damage in Alzheimer’s disease – were less developed in mice that fed on a low carb diet / high protein diet.
The researchers believe that consumption of a diet which is rich in protein, over time makes the brain cells more susceptible to plaque buildup.
According to lead author of the study, Sam Gandy, these new findings have got medical fraternity speculating that the consumption of high-protein diet at particular ages may contribute to the development or fasten the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Experts say that inflammation may be the reason why diet rich in protein contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s. Constant entry of foreign proteins may cause chronic inflammation, which subsequently may damage the blood vessels and obstruct the flow of blood.
In the study mentioned above, mice were genetically engineered to carry amyloid-beta, the plaque that accounts for death of brain cells in people with Alzheimer’s. So, while medical fraternity acknowledges that more studies are needed to determine for sure whether diet rich in protein contributes to Alzheimer’s disease or not, they accept that these studies clearly show that people who have Alzheimer’s or at risk to this disease should avoid consuming diet that are high on protein.
A balanced diet, one that is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and includes some amount of meat and fish helps in reducing your risk to Alzheimer’s and also slow the progression of the disease in existing patients. Further, regular exercise is also found to decrease the chances of acquiring Alzheimer’s.
Watch this video – Brain Foods for Brain Health – Boost Brain Health with Good Eats
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