Chocolate and Memory?

I saw this recently:
Dietary cocoa flavanols reverse age-related memory decline in healthy older adults

Dietary cocoa flavanols -- naturally occurring bioactives found in cocoa -- reversed age-related memory decline in healthy older adults, according to a new study. Flavanols are also found naturally in tea leaves and in certain fruits and vegetables.

Sponsored by a candy company:

A cocoa flavanol-containing test drink prepared specifically for research purposes was produced by the food company Mars, Incorporated, which also partly supported the research, using a proprietary process to extract flavanols from cocoa beans. Most methods of processing cocoa remove many of the flavanols found in the raw plant.

What do you think about studies like this? Is it an attempt to get the media to suddenly write a lot of articles about how “chocolate is good for memory so you should eat more of it” or is there something to it?

I’ve recently started eating dark chocolate, 85 and 86%, because I couldn’t find 90% yet.

Nutritious, antioxidants, heart health(lower blood pressure), possibly more bloodflow to the brain.

Some studies:


Yes, there’s reason to believe this is so.

However, the saturated fats you receive with many chocolates that use whole milk put your memory at risk. Not to mention cataracts, cardiovascular disease, diabetes …

Not saying I don’t eat chocolate, but I can’t see the long term memory benefits when weighed against the short and long term risks.

Maybe another way to consume some chocolate would be mole sauce. :slight_smile:

I don’t know what other ingredients go into chocolate mole, but it isn’t very sweet and might not have dairy.

I would recommend getting the highest cacao content you can stand. I can eat anything, and would get 90-92% cacao chocolate if I could find it. Most health benefits, least drawbacks.

Also check out cacao nibs.

I would recommend to check out this website for stuff like this:

A lot of useful information on a lot of topics (nutrition and supplements)

Do you note significant memory boosts that you can track? By which I mean, do you cross-reference what you’re eating against the results you’re getting with your memory projects and vice-versa?

No, I don’t do it for the memory benefits, actually haven’t even heard of them before this post. Just health.


Post Scriptum: Things like this, if they do cause any benefit for memory competitions, are only likely to be beneficial at the uttermost elite level(< similar thing, except for exercise). First you would have to take care of the big things, standarizing sleeping, eating, exercising, cleaning your body, getting into a good practice schedule, etc. Then, when you’re pushing 2100 digits memorized in an hour, to get those extra 50, you might be helped by things like this, if you’ve optimized all the big things first. If you’re still memorizing a deck of cards in 5 minutes, it doesn’t matter if you improve by 2%.


Post post scriptum: I was inspired, and wrote a whole post on things that are beneficial on the elite level.

I haven’t looked at this closely yet, but just saw it on slashdot:

I performed a 3 month trial and found no benefit from adding chocolate. If anything, my brain got foggier. But I was just at the dentist yesterday and its appears that no harm has been done to my teeth. Phew! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I’m assuming it was normal chocolate, not dark?


I tried all kinds and with varying percentages, include white chocolate.

Cocoa powder is great.

Chocolate breakdown:
Milk powder = should avoided
processed refined sugar = should be avoided (even stevia is questionable)
Cocoa butter = questionable
cocoa powder = ideal

So, what I usually do is put in a cup:

2 tablespoons of pure cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of honey (which is the ideal sugar, due to antimicrobial+anti-inflammatory properties)
50ml hot water.
I stir the above. Then I add so some cold water, and my hydrating, antioxidizing milkless healthy chocolate is ready to drink.

I actually have cocoa powder as well, bought it a while back(navitas). There is a website and a couple of others that quote it that proclaim it’s bad for you, here. It seems like pseudoscience, and I couldn’t find any evidence supporting it while looking. Looking at webmd, it’s likely safe for most people.

Metivier, sugar is terrible for you. I wouldn’t recommend consuming anything below 70% pure cacao. I only do 86-92% now. Along with pure cacao, as Nodas above.


Bateman, sugar is not terrible.

Our brain runs on either sugar or ketone bodies.

There are dozens kinds of sugars (lactose, fructose, dextrose, glucose, sucrose etc.)

For example, bananas have about 5 gr sugar per 100gr
and they are great brain food, in small quantities (let’s say 2-3 fruit per day)

I think when you said terrible, you meant processed sugar. I agree then. In worst case scenario of not having honey, I put brown sugar instead of white.

But 1 teaspoon of honey, is perfectly okay fuel, and maybe recommended to keep some bad bacteria away. About maple syrup or marmite, I don’t know. I’m sure those are better than white sugar, but I’m in Europe, and honey since antiquity is generally considered safe in small quantities.

Drop a few cinnamon as well, and your pancreas will not having any problem producing enough insulin, and carry on with normal glycolysis.

People may say 'sugar feeds cancer, blah blah…". But okay. It’s impossible to run purely on ketone bodies (by dissolving fat/protein), because at some point ketoacidosis will be almost certain. That’s why carb-free diets are usually destined to be incomplete.

I mean it will be pure madness if I don’t eat the simple carbs from great vegetables like tomatos or bell peppers. Starch and complex carbs are a different story. These are only a subset of carbs. Same as grains.