Chocolate, wine and tea sharpen brain performance: new research
By Damon Marturion
New Business News Staff Writer
December 22, 2008 -- Consumers of chocolate, wine and tea show higher brain performance than those who did not, according to new research released today.
A team of Oxford's Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics and Norway examined the relation between cognitive performance and the intake of the three favorite snacks. Those who consumed chocolate, wine, or tea had significantly better mean test scores and lower prevalence of poor cognitive performance than those who did not.
Chocolate, wine and tea all contain a substance called flavonoids, a micronutrient found in plant-derived foods. Their role in age-related cognitive decline is being increasingly studied, and the new research suggests that flavonoids can ward off the onset of dementia.
Fruits and beverages such as cocoa, tea, and red wine are major dietary sources of polyphenols, micronutrients found in plant-derived foods.
The researchers, who reported their findings in the Journal of Nutrition, caution that evidence linking flavonids to brain performance was not conclusive, and more work needed to be done to ensure other things inside the foods were not the true culprit.
Evidence did show higher wine consumption gave a more pronounced effect however.
While moderate alcohol consumption is associated with better cognitive function and reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, heavy alcohol intake could be one of many causes of dementia as well as a host of other problems.
The test was conducted across 2,031 people aged between 70 and 74.
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