Question: In healthy adults, how effective is the consumption of cocoa flavanols/cocoa polyphenols, particularly drinking cocoa, for improving memory and cognitive function?


Evidence from two small randomised controlled trials suggests that the consumption of high flavanol chocolate (520 to 994 mg), either as a bar or drink can improve cognitive outcomes. However these results only apply to healthy young adults aged between 18 and 35 years, and the cognitive outcomes were measured fairly soon after the chocolate consumption (between 90 and 120 minutes afterwards). Further research is needed into other populations, and whether these benefits are long-lasting.

Three other trials did not find any benefits for cognitive outcomes but also suggested areas for further research: in other populations and cognitive domains, over longer time scales, at different doses, and also monitoring relevant biomarkers and in other cognitive domains, and whether cocoa polyphenols can reduce symptoms of clinical anxiety or depression.

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