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Eating chocolate can “lower risk of mental decline,” says Portuguese study

Today is World Chocolate Day (July 7), and most would agree a good way to celebrate the occasion is with a new study that adds further evidence to the belief that chocolate is a brain-friendly food.

This one was actually conducted by Portuguese researchers, and found that a regular consumption of chocolate can reduce the risk of “cognitive decline” in elderly people – in other words, it can help keep older people’s minds healthy.

Other international studies have reached very similar conclusions in recent years, and the idea that chocolate is good for one’s mental health seems to be gaining increasing support from the scientific community.

This latest research was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease last month.

A total of 531 people aged 65 or older took part.

They were submitted to a series of physical and mental tests, and then underwent the same tests two years later so the researchers could monitor their development.

According to the study, “chocolate intake was independently associated with an about 40% lower risk of cognitive decline”.

However, “the protective effect of chocolate consumption was observed only among subjects with an average daily consumption of caffeine lower than 75 mg, the average caffeine content in one espresso”.

A compound called flavanol found in chocolate is believed to be beneficial to the human mind, and may explain the food’s brain-friendly effect.

The full study, with all its scientific details, can be found online (click here).

It was conducted by researchers from the Universities of Lisbon and Porto and Lisbon’s Santa Maria Hospital.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com