Impressive Advancements In Nutrition

The great thing about advancements in technology is that many scientific studies can find groundbreaking information that would have been harder to reach otherwise. When it comes to the information that has been largely provided regarding nutrition, there are several discoveries that have given increased insight into what choices could be best.

Dark Chocolate Impacts Aging

While sugar has gotten more and more of a bad reputation as the years wear on, the presence of dark chocolate is one that actually provides so many benefits without the inordinate amount of sugar. Dark chocolate is known to thwart inflammation and can reverse the effects of oxidative stress on the system.

A recent study found that there is a specific flavanol within dark chocolate called epicatechin that can help the obvious processes of aging by damaging the oxidative stress that our bodies endure. The study was conducted on mice, and after having a certain amount of exposure to the flavanol, their memory improved as did their levels of anxiety. So having a bit of a treat at the end of the day isn’t a bad thing. It really depends on what you choose. Dark chocolate is a superb choice.

Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar

The problem of diabetes in this society has grown exponentially in the last 10 years. Our current diets, which put more focus on carbs and processed foods, become the impetus for the increased presence of diabetes. In order to combat this epidemic that is slowly getting out of control, it’s imperative to understand what items can potentially help control large blood sugar spikes. In a study that was conducted by Ohio Northern University it was found that the compounds within cinnamon actually have an enzyme that helps increase the signals that activate insulin.

So the presence of cinnamon is great for those who suffer from type 2 diabetes and can be a great tool to use in the management of the condition. While there is other types of medication specifically geared toward diabetes, it doesn’t hurt having natural aids at your disposal as well.

Food Prices And Increased Risk Of Obesity

One catalyst to health is what type of food people can afford and have access to. Poorly made, nutritionally vacant food is made exceedingly more accessible than food that has nutritious value and can properly fuel the body. In recent research from Los Angeles, California, global data was studied and it was found that there is a strong relationship between the existence and prevalence of obesity in women and the steady inflation of food prices that is seen on a widespread basis. In locations where people are on the lower spectrum of social-economic standing, they are susceptible to what are called food deserts. This means that these spaces only sell junk food at incredibly low prices.

The closest grocery store where fresh ingredients and healthy options are available is often nowhere nearby. This makes the ability to make healthy and better choices virtually impossible, which means they are forced to go the route of eating food that isn’t good for them, has high caloric mass, and contributes to weight gain. This is a recipe for disaster as this also makes them more prone to specific diseases.

Cognitive Benefits Of Dark Chocolate And Cocoa

While sweet treats often get a bad rap, typically because of the overwhelming sugar content within, there is some specific benefits that can be obtained when you include dark chocolate and natural cocoa into your diet. While some may argue that having a daily chocolate habit can’t be a good thing, it is as long as the amounts of chocolate consumed aren’t too big and the sugar content isn’t too much. It’s important to note that the options with less sugar are preferred. You can get unsweetened cocoa powder and naturally rich dark chocolate in your grocer’s candy and baking aisle.

A recent study found that overall cognitive function was improved after the daily intake of cocoa flavanols. Researchers have been trying to ascertain what type of acute effect the cocoa flavanols may have on specific cognitive experiences and processes. Italian researchers sought to find out what happens to the brain only a couple of hours after cocoa flavanols are consumed. They also considered what type of cognitive improvements could be measured from daily consumption.

The Trial

A randomized and controlled trial was launched to investigate the improvement of cognitive functions in the face of these cocoa flavanols. Those participants that consumed these flavanols on a continual basis showed noticeable enhancements in their working memory performance as well as increased processing of visual information. For many women, it was found that eating a piece of dark chocolate or consuming hot cocoa after a night of sleep deprivation can counteract the cognitive impairment that occurs. Cognitive impairment in such situations usually looks like less accuracy when performing tasks that require premium focus.

It does need to be mentioned that these findings are more noticeable in those who are in their mid life or older. For individuals who are considered young and healthy, the high demand in cognitive testing is necessary to ascertain specific behavioral changes. For those who are older and who consume these cocoa flavanols on a consistent basis, their overall cognitive framework and cognitive abilities take a notable and impressive uptick. Things like verbal fluency, attention to detail, processing speed and working memory are tremendously improved.

The Factors

The reason that these factors are likely more noticeable in older individuals is because of the normal memory decline that tends to happen at a certain age. This is also true of individuals that have suffered from some type of cognitive impairment that occurred as a result of a minor injury that may have resulted in a concussion.

Michele Ferrara and Valentina Socci from the University of L’Aquila in Italy explain: “This result suggests the potential of cocoa flavanols to protect cognition in vulnerable populations over time by improving cognitive performance. If you look at the underlying mechanism, the cocoa flavanols have beneficial effects for cardiovascular health and can increase cerebral blood volume in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus.”

It can be difficult for some to make dark chocolate or cocoa a consistent part of their dietary patterns because of other aspects of the food that is linked to caloric value, caffeine content, milk content and sugar amounts. So with these specific factors in mind, sometimes consistent consumption of chocolate is a bit harder to navigate. But the darker the chocolate the better it is for you and potential brain power.