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Treating Alzheimer’s Using Flavonoids: You Don’t Have To Skip Chocolate!

Posted by on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Eating a healthier diet to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s and other diseases doesn’t have to mean skimping on holiday treats. It’s all a matter of being smarter about the choices you make.

Smarter Holiday Cookie Choices for Alzheimer's

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Chocolate should definitely stay on the menu in your holiday baking, but with two caveats to keep in mind: use dark chocolate and substitute the refined sugar for healthier alternatives such as maple syrup, agave nectar, or brown rice syrup.

For some time now, dark chocolate has been touted as a health food, protecting against ailments ranging from allergies to heart disease and cancer. Studies are also illuminating a connection between consuming the flavonoids found in dark chocolate and a reduction in Alzheimer’s symptoms. In the experiment, mice were genetically programmed to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s, including the distinctive amyloid plaques associated with the disease. The researchers then provided the mice with doses of flavonoids and saw a reduction in the size of the amyloid plaques.

Nutritional Benefits of Dark Chocolate for Alzheimer's

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But what are flavonoids, and how can they help Alzheimer’s sufferers? Flavonoids are a set of molecular compounds comprised of over 6,000 different substances. Flavonoids can be found in plants such as wheat and legumes, fruits, and vegetables and serve a variety of functions. Flavonoids appear as different chemical compounds in plants, and the most common ones we have researched for health benefits include flavonols, isoflavones, and flavanones. Research has resulted in findings that flavonoids have the highest antioxidant health benefit when combined with vitamin C. Fortunately for us, chocolate is absolutely loaded with flavonoids and berries are full of both flavonoids and vitamin C.

Treating Alzheimer's Using Flavonoids

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With the holiday season upon us, we thought we should look for ways to include some of these healthy compounds in some baked goods, smoothies, and even some raw confections. Chocolate and berries happen to taste great together, so we’ve rounded up some simple recipes spotlighting both. It just takes a little bit of creativity to find healthier ways to enjoy chocolate. As noted author and keynote speaker Evan Bailyn has said, “Creativity may be the single most important human ability. It’s that lightning in a bottle, that spark that separates the human race from every other species on Earth.” By tapping into your creativity, you can find some healthful ways to include dark chocolate into your holiday baking. Keep one thing in mind when you begin your experimenting – to obtain the highest amount of flavonoids, you’ll want to use raw cacao.

Here are some suggestions for how to use chocolate and berries during the holidays:

Treating Alzheimer's Using Flavonoids

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Healthy Warm Cacao with Cinnamon – this recipe calls for using almond milk, but you could also use low-fat milk if you prefer.

Chocolate Raspberry Fudge – free of refined sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Holiday Cookies – contains almonds, which is also have a good dose of flavonoids.

Ecstatic Raw Chocolate – just yum!

Chocolate Banana Blueberry Smoothie – chocolate you can have for breakfast!



Of course, you can also get a healthy dose of dark chocolate in the form of a bar. If you are looking for a bar with the highest concentration of flavonoids, stick with those that are over 65% cacao, and the lower the sugar content, the better.



For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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