Flavonoid-Rich Chocolate and Cognitive Improvement

  • Eha NurkEmail author
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH, volume 7)

Key Points

  • There is some evidence that flavanols, but also methylxanthine compounds, in cocoa may have a positive effect on cognitive functioning.

  • The results from clinical trials indicate that cocoa flavanols are beneficial in improving the vascular function and increasing cerebral blood flow and may therefore have potential for treatment of vascular impairment, including dementias and strokes, but also potential for maintaining an adequate cognitive functioning.

  • Long-term administration of a cocoa polyphenolic extract may be beneficial in retarding age-related brain impairments, including cognitive deficits in normal aging, as demonstrated in animal studies.

  • The efficacy of flavanol-rich cocoa on cognitive performance has been shown in a couple of human trials, but there are also a few experiments that yielded no improvement, presumably due to the ceiling effect in cognitive testing.

  • Based on population-based cross-sectional study chocolate intake up to 10 g/day is associated with better performance in several cognitive abilities in a dose-dependent manner.

  • Studies on cell cultures have shown that neuroprotective actions of cocoa flavonoids involve a number of effects within the brain, including a potential to protect neurons against injury induced by neurotoxins and an ability to suppress neuroinflammation, and that cocoa may therefore have a potential to promote memory, learning, and cognitive function.


Alzheimer’s disease Cerebral blood flow Chocolate Cocoa Cognitive functioning Dementia Flavanols 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surveillance and EvaluationNational Institute for Health DevelopmentTallinnEstonia
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical SciencesUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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