Make sure you have plenty of flavanols in your diet once you hit your 60s, and you’ll maintain a good memory and cognitive skills into old age
Flavanols, anti-inflammatory nutrients in vegetables and fruits, can reverse “cognitive aging” and memory loss as we get older.
Consuming around 500 mg of flavanols every day can reverse the neurological damage that can happen as we age, especially if we’re eating a poor diet.
Researchers from Columbia University saw brain markers of cognitive aging reverse in a group of 3,562 people who were all aged 60 years and older, and who had been consuming a low-flavanol diet, when they took a 500 mg cocoa flavanol supplement every day for three years. However, improvements were seen after just a year, compared to those who were given a dummy placebo supplement.1
Those taking the flavanol supplements were recording an average 10.5 percent higher score on memory tests after the first year compared to the placebo group, which was a 16 percent improvement over their memory scores at the start. Brain scans showed improvement in the hippocampus area of the brain, which regulates memory and the ability to learn new skills.
People who were already consuming a flavanol-rich diet didn’t see any further cognitive improvement, however.
Just as the young brain needs specific nutrients to help it develop, the aging brain needs flavanols to maintain cognition and memory function, the researchers say.
Consuming 500 mg of flavanols every day can keep you mentally sharp. Here’s how this intake might look:
DAILY: Two servings of apples or berries
PLUS: A cup of tea
PLUS: Six squares of dark chocolate
OR: A 500 g cocoa flavanol supplement once a day
Flavonoids are phytonutrients—plant-based nutrients—that are found in plants and vegetables. There are six primary types of flavonoids:
Flavonoids of all types are found in a wide variety of foods.
Here are the main sources: