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Could Hot Cocoa Improve Seniors Memory Loss?

Updated on August 12, 2013
Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Hot Cocoa
Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Hot Cocoa | Source

Many of us have wonderful memories of Mother or Grandmother preparing warm cups of Ovaltine or Cocoa on cool nights or snowy days. The sweet chocolate was almost like magic to warm you up instantly. I remember having cocoa on the stove when we came home from school or after playing or shoveling snow. Who knew that the many benefits to taming your chocolate cravings also may increase brain function. When I read about the study conducted at Harvard Medical School about the benefits of hot cocoa in improving brain function in senior citizens, I took notice.


Basically, cocoa increase blood flow in the brain which in turn increases oxygen. Medical evidence suggests that lack of blood flow is one of the causes of memory loss. There are still many studies looking at this phenomenon of the effect of blood flow on memory.

“The brain is a greedy organ, with just 2 percent of body mass and 20 percent of energy requirements," explained Andrew Scholey, director of the Center for Human Psychopharmacology at Swinburne University in Australia. "It requires a constant supply of blood to deliver the metabolic fuels of glucose and oxygen. Blood flow to the brain reduces with aging, and this correlates with cognitive [mental] decline."

"Before we recommend cocoa, it's important to go back and figure out what's in it that's doing this and make sure it's sustainable," said study author Dr. Farzaneh Sorond, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. "I'd prefer people wait until we figure out how to get the benefit without the calories, sugar and fat that comes in cocoa."

The window of time that was used is 30 days. So, what could it hurt? Why not have two cups of hot cocoa a day for 30 days to see if you have improvement in your memory. If one is not experiencing low blood flow or memory loss, would cocoa improve function for day to day tasks, memorization or even comprehension?

For more information on Cocoa and benefits to older adults, follow the article referenced here, written by Randy Dotinga, HealthyDay Reporter at WebMD News. ( http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20130807/could-hot-cocoa-improve-brainpower-in-seniors )


Why not have a cup of delicious Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Cocoa while reading the article?

Cook Time

Prep time: 2 min
Cook time: 2 min
Ready in: 4 min
Yields: 1 Cup

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2-3 Teaspoons Hershey's Cocoa
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Directions

  1. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in large mug.
  2. Heat milk in microwave at HIGH (100%) 1-1/2 minutes or until hot.
  3. Gradually add hot milk to cocoa mixture in mug, stirring until well blended.
  4. Stir in vanilla. 1 serving.
  5. VARIATIONS: Rich and Adult: Increase cocoa to 2 tablespoons; follow recipe above. Lower Fat: Use nonfat milk; follow recipe above. Sugar Free: Omit sugar. Combine cocoa and salt. Proceed as above, using nonfat milk. Stir in vanilla and sugar substitute with sweetening equivalence of 2 tablespoons sugar.
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1
Calories 261
Calories from Fat81
% Daily Value *
Fat 9 g14%
Saturated fat 5 g25%
Unsaturated fat 1 g
Carbohydrates 40 g13%
Sugar 36 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 9 g18%
Cholesterol 20 mg7%
Sodium 180 mg8%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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