Hot Chocolate For Your Memory (yes really)

Posted on by Nancy Slessenger This entry was posted in Brain, Grapevine, Memory and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


How’s your memory? A while back, I touched on an issue that plagues a lot of people as they get older – memory loss and difficulty forming and keeping new memories.



A big part of memory difficulties have to do with the sheer amount of memories we accumulate by the time we reach an older age.
There are many ways to help keep your brain nimble as you get older, but a lot people still experience problems as they reach the 70-75 year mark (though this age range varies from person to person). These problems can include slower working memory times, difficulty recalling new memories, and “general cognitive deterioration.”



If you have read many of my blogs you will know I am a great lover of chocolate. So I was particularly pleased to hear about this new study.




A welcome new study on memory



One study, though, suggests a much sweeter method for boosting memory health: hot chocolate.



In a study published in the August 2013 edition of Neurology, researchers say that drinking two cups of hot cocoa a day (over a period of 30 days) showed improvements for participants who reported “memory issues” prior to the tests.



The study involved 60 people, all roughly 73 years of age. One third of them reported some problems with their memory.



Of that third, all of them saw improvements in their memory tests after regularly drinking hot cocoa. Scores of working memory improved from a time of 167 seconds to 116 seconds, and people reporting “cognitive deterioration” saw an 8.3% increase in blood flow, as shown by ultrasound.




Increased blood flow



These results tell us that the blood flow stimulated by drinking hot chocolate can improve memory for the elderly people who experience difficulty in those areas.



As I mentioned in my previous post, cardiovascular health makes a big difference to memory, and so does actively using your brain’s memory centers. These findings, though, are a welcome method for people looking to improve their memories in any way they can.



After all, difficulty with memory and cognitive function is terribly frustrating – and for some, it can be damaging to confidence. As you may recall from other previous blogs, self-esteem and memory are very closely linked.



Maintaining strong memory capacity is more important than ever for people reaching their 70s. Even post-retirement, many people still want to work.



If memory has become an ongoing problem, though, it can be very difficult to take on new responsibilities or navigate new technology.




Take on new challenges



By making an effort to keep your memory sharp, you don’t need to shy away from new challenges and new opportunities when you approach your 70’s – and tackling those challenges will only serve to further strengthen your memory capacity!




But drink chocolate as well

If you look closely you'll see one of these packets is empty...I couldn't resist, but at least my memory has improved

If you look closely you’ll see one of these packets is empty…I couldn’t resist, but at least my memory has improved



So, why not give your memory a boost with some chocolate? (I know that’s what I’ll be doing.)



I recently had the pleasure of attending the Salon Du Chocolat exhibition in London

(which was fantastic), and got to sample some of the finest chocolate in the world. If you have the option, I highly recommend Benoit Nihant, wonderful chocolate I had not tried before.  Enjoy!










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4 Responses to “Hot Chocolate For Your Memory (yes really)”

  1. December 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Hello, I wondered if you could let me know how strong the cocoa should be. I mean should I make it with a level teaspoon of cocoa or a heaped teaspoon? Also is it ok to sweeten the cocoa? My husband is 75 and he has, in the last year or so, had more problems with memory. His doctor has tested him for dementia with a blood test for B vitamins and an oral test and feels that the memory problems are age related rather than dementia. So anything he can do for his memory we will try. thank you for any help you can offer.

    regards Curly

    • Nancy Slessenger
      December 17, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Curly

      I’m afraid I don’t have access to that information. However, having been to many lectures on the subject of memory and aging, I can tell you that just learning a few simple memory techniques can make a huge difference. I suggest you get one of Tony Buzan’s excellent books as a good start. “Brilliant Memory” is a short and easy to use book. He believes that rather than degrading, our memories should improve over age if we put in the effort (and it’s not that difficult). I hope it works for you. I’ll still keep going with the chocolate too, personally.

  2. December 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    You should be aware that Consumer Lab found high levels of cadmium in many chocolates and cocoa. I believe you need to buy a membership to see the whole report. The only ones that had high levels of anti-oxidants and were low in cadmium were CocoaVia and Hershey’s Chocolate bar (high in saturated fat). Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa was high in cadmium. The highest levels of lead and cadmium were found in chocolates and cocoa labelled ‘organic’. Before you start enjoying chocolate and its many benefits, be sure it is not going to poison you.

    • Nancy Slessenger
      December 17, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      Oh dear, this is a shame, but thanks for the warning, Bob! Much appreciated.