This improved blood flow to the brain in those who had problems to start with. The group also did better on memory tests at the end of the study. Experts said more research was needed before conclusions could be drawn.
It is not the first time cocoa has been linked with vascular health and researchers believe that this is in part due to it being rich in flavanols, which are thought to have an important role.
The cacao seeds can be dried, dehulled, roasted and minimally processed into what is essentially raw chocolate, also called raw cacao nibs. Although bitter, raw cacao beans are one of the most amazing superfoods to eat, containing anti-oxidants, magnesium, chromium, and incredibly high levels of vitamin C.
As a teaser for Living Flotsam, the novel I'm working on, here's a little excerpt:
Liliha glanced at the dark window, and then paced into the kitchen to make a drink. She mixed cocoa powder with sugar and a dash of milk in the bottom of a mug, stirring round and round until the mixture formed a froth. Her mother always dealt with worries this way and the routine soothed her.
She wondered if Ellen and Pam were safe in the isolated spot in Zennor. Her own suggestion seemed mad now she'd thought it over. Whatever got into her to put Pam in danger in such a way?
Tiny bubbles formed at the edge of the pan and she flicked the gas off.
Perfume replaced the sweet steamy aroma. The saucepan in her hand clunked onto the stove top. Swirls of color in abundant intensity guided Liliha through a doorway into the unknown.
* * *
I hover in the dark sky, looking down on a busy street. Bright lights illuminate everything, some flashing with colored signs. A group of three giggling girls wearing short skirts congregate on the footpath outside a popular eating-place. I move closer. A very young teenager hurries towards them.
With accustomed speed, I meld with the new arrival. ...