Scientists believe that flavanols, the antioxidants inside cocoa beans, can give people in their sixties the memory of a “typical 30 or 40-year-old”.
The study, by the Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, is thought to be the first evidence that age-related memory decline – a common problem that can cause older people to forget small things like the names of acquaintances or where they have placed their keys – can be countered through dietary changes.
The trials involved 37 volunteers, aged between 50 and 69, divided into two groups. One group was administered daily drinks with a high (900mg) dosage of flavanols, while the other was offered just 10mg a day. After three months, the group that drank the high intake showed signs of faster and clearer recognition of visual patterns.