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Increase Brain Blood Flow with This Chocolaty Treat

Increase Brain Blood Flow with This Chocolaty Treat

Indulge in this chocolaty cold-weather treat to give your brain a boost on family Scrabble night: hot cocoa.

Yep, research shows that enjoying a couple of cups may help boost blood flow in your brain by about 10 percent. All the better for clearing up brain fog and reducing your risk of dementia, too.

Go with the Flow
Think of your blood vessels as nutrient superhighways, delivering oxygen and other critical supplies to your muscles and organs -- including your brain. And blood vessels work best when they're wide and relaxed, allowing oxygen and nutrients to go where they need to go. That's where chocolate comes in. Flavonols found in chocolate increase blood flow by helping your blood vessels relax.

Brain Boost
Scientists think flavonol-rich cocoas help blood vessels relax by lifting levels of nitric oxide, a compound that makes blood vessels dilate. Blood-vessel-friendly flavonols are also found in tea and red wine. In the study, older adults consumed a couple of servings of cocoa every day for 2 weeks to get the 10 percent boost in blood flow to the brain. Looking for more ways to stay sharp? Try these tricks:

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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