New Research Shows How Red Wine and Chocolate Help Fight Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia (significant loss of intellectual abilities). It affects memory, thinking and behavior. Currently, there is no cure, however, ongoing research about the different aspects of this disease continues to provide ways to treat, delay, and prevent it. Two of those possible treatments are red wine and dark chocolate.
AD (Alzheimer’s disease) is the damage and death of nerve cells in the brain. The damage is caused by:
• plaques build up (deposits of amyloid protein fragments) in the spaces between nerve cells;
• Tangles build up (twisted fibers of a different type of protein (tau)) inside of the cells.
This destruction causes, among other things, memory failure, personality changes, and difficulty performing daily activities.
Plaques and Polyphenols
Red wine and cocoa contain high concentrations of polyphenols which are natural antioxidants. Studies show that these substances block the formation of proteins that form the plaques that are believed to destroy brain cells, and they reduce the toxic effects of existing plaques. One of the polyphenols in red wine is resveratrol.
Red Wine and Resveratrol
Resveratrol is a favorite, natural compound commonly found in red grapes, red wine, dark chocolate, and other foods. It is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory substance with a broad range of health benefits. Resveratrol crosses the blood-brain barrier (unlike other antioxidants), so it can support the brain and nervous system. A study of resveratrol extracts from red wine showed that it prevented amyloid proteins from clumping together in the brain, thus decreasing the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.
Trans-Resveratrol is a very stable, supplement form of the compound. It is a suitable alternative to red wine if alcohol consumption is not your best option. Supplements also have the advantage of being available in concentrations that are more available to cells. Another option is to eat foods rich in resveratrol, like grapes, cranberries, and pomegranate.
Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Content
Dark chocolate is also a major antioxidant because of the level of phenols that it contains. It enhances the blood flow to your brain and provides other benefits of antioxidants.
Research projects showed that:
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• Consuming two cups of hot cocoa for 30 days improved blood flow to the brain during memory and thinking skills tests.
• Ingesting dark chocolate (with at least 60 percent of cacao) increases attention and alertness.
• Chocolate products containing 70 percent or higher amounts of cocoa are potent antioxidants that promote heart health and improve memory and comprehension.
Chocolate and red wine – yummy! Keeping in mind that balanced amounts are needed when drinking alcohol and eating chocolate, are these options appropriate for your healthy lifestyle?