Hot Cocoa Improves Memory In Seniors
Nowadays, people seem to crave gourmet versions of everything – cupcakes, popcorn, donuts and coffees. You name it and chances are that someone will crave it. A study in the latest issue of the journal Neurology will have culinary school students working on their gourmet hot chocolate recipes. Researchers at the Harvard School of Medicine found that drinking a few cups of hot cocoa a day could help to improve memory function in seniors. While the study focused on the health of seniors, there are three things to keep in mind:
- It is never too early to start taking care of your cognitive health.
- Your grandparents may appreciate a nice hot cocoa as a dessert the next time they come over for dinner.
- Hot cocoa is delicious no matter your age.
The researchers used MRI scans to view the blood flow in the brain of seniors participating in the study. They found that the seniors who had poor blood circulation at the start of the study also had minor brain damage. At the end of the 30 days, these seniors performed better on their memory and cognition tests than they had at the beginning. The researchers believe that the chocolate in the hot beverages was responsible for stimulating blood flow because of the high level of antioxidants in it. Dark chocolate in particular has been suggested as being be able to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk for stroke and improve cholesterol levels.
Spiced Hot Cocoa Recipe
Since you are probably busy while you learn to cook online, it will be handy to make a hot cocoa blend that you can store in an airtight jar and heat up once you’re ready for a sweet treat. On days that you have more time, or on special occasions, you can substitute out some of the dry ingredients, such as the creamer or zest, for fresh variations.
Ingredients (makes 25 servings)
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4 cups French vanilla powdered coffee creamer
2 cups dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 tablespoons orange zest, dried
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground anise seed
Making the premade mix
- In a large bowl, stir together the confectioner’s sugar, coffee creamer, orange zest, cocoa, cinnamon and anise seed. Store in an airtight container.
- Mix 1/4 cup of the mix with 1 1/2 cups of hot milk or boiling water.
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