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scimonth - 最新研究 | 2017-07-05 | 人氣:725

可可能增強認知能力

        巧克力是零食還是營養食品?黃烷醇(flavanol)是一種在各類植物中自然產生的抗氧化劑,大量出現在可可植物中。可可豆為黃烷醇的豐富來源,是一類具有神經保護作用的天然化合物。義大利的研究人員發現老年人長期攝入可可中的黃烷醇(5天至3個月)可以提高認知表現,如注意力、工作速度、工作記憶力和言語流利程度都受到很大影響。 

    所以,巧克力可以成為增加我們認知功能的膳食補充劑嗎?科學家表示可可和巧克力的定期攝取確實會對認知功能有好的影響。但是,因巧克力通常有富含咖啡因或可可鹼以及食品製造時為了增加口感而添加到巧克力中的糖或牛奶中的各種添加劑。不過,科學家也表示黑巧克力是黃烷醇的豐富來源,所以每天能攝取一些黑巧克力來補充黃烷醇。

A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands -- a phrase commonly used to justify ones chocolate snacking behavior. A phrase now shown to actually harbor some truth, as the cocoa bean is a rich source of flavanols: a class of natural compounds that has neuroprotective effects.

In their recent review published in Frontiers in Nutrition, Italian researchers examined the available literature for the effects of acute and chronic administration of cocoa flavanols on different cognitive domains. In other words: what happens to your brain up to a few hours after you eat cocoa flavanols, and what happens when you sustain such a cocoa flavanol enriched diet for a prolonged period of time?

Although randomized controlled trials investigating the acute effect of cocoa flavanols are sparse, most of them point towards a beneficial effect on cognitive performance. Participants showed, among others, enhancements in working memory performance and improved visual information processing after having had cocoa flavanols. And for women, eating cocoa after a night of total sleep deprivation actually counteracted the cognitive impairment (i.e. less accuracy in performing tasks) that such a night brings about. Promising results for people that suffer from chronic sleep deprivation or work shifts.

It has to be noted though, that the effects depended on the length and mental load of the used cognitive tests to measure the effect of acute cocoa consumption. In young and healthy adults, for example, a high demanding cognitive test was required to uncover the subtle immediate behavioral effects that cocoa flavanols have on this group.

The effects of relatively long-term ingestion of cocoa flavanols (ranging from 5 days up to 3 months) has generally been investigated in elderly individuals. It turns out that for them cognitive performance was improved by a daily intake of cocoa flavanols. Factors such as attention, processing speed, working memory, and verbal fluency were greatly affected. These effects were, however, most pronounced in older adults with a starting memory decline or other mild cognitive impairments.

And this was exactly the most unexpected and promising result according to authors Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara from the University of L'Aquila in Italy. "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. This structure is particularly affected by aging and therefore the potential source of age-related memory decline in humans."

 

So should cocoa become a dietary supplement to improve our cognition? "Regular intake of cocoa and chocolate could indeed provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning over time. There are, however, potential side effects of eating cocoa and chocolate. Those are generally linked to the caloric value of chocolate, some inherent chemical compounds of the cocoa plant such as caffeine and theobromine, and a variety of additives we add to chocolate such as sugar or milk."

Nonetheless, the scientists are the first to put their results into practice: "Dark chocolate is a rich source of flavanols. So we always eat some dark chocolate. Every day."

 


原文網站:ScienceDaily

原文連結:Frontiers. "Cocoa and chocolate are not just treats -- they are good for your cognition. " ScienceDaily, 29 June, 2017.

參考文獻:Valentina Socci et al., Enhancing Human Cognition with Cocoa Flavonoids. Frontiers in Nutrition, 2017. DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2017.00019

 

 


 
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