Trifecta of Red Wine, Tea, and Chocolate Shown to Improve Cognitive Function in the Elderly

by in American Sickcare System, Kitchen Sink, Research December 5, 2009

PhotobucketBy Dr. Nicole Sundene

I was just reading the article, “Intake of Flavonoid-Rich Wine, Tea, and Chocolate by Elderly Men and Women Is Associated with Better Cognitive Test Performance,” and thought this may be the world’s BEST natural medicine news to ever report.

Forget the elderly *wink wink*, this article is a great reminder about picking our “poisons” wisely.

If we are going to have one, two, or maybe even three vices, they should all be rich sources of antioxidants, such as DARK chocolate, green or black tea, and organic red wine in moderation.

Here is the quick and dirty on the latest research:

“In a cross-sectional study, we examined the relation between intake of 3 common foodstuffs that contain flavonoids (chocolate, wine, and tea) and cognitive performance. 2031 participants (70–74 y, 55% women) recruited from the population-based Hordaland Health Study in Norway underwent cognitive testing. A cognitive test battery included the Kendrick Object Learning Test, Trail Making Test, part A (TMT-A), modified versions of the Digit Symbol Test, Block Design, Mini-Mental State Examination, and Controlled Oral Word Association Test. Poor cognitive performance was defined as a score in the highest decile for the TMT-A and in the lowest decile for all other tests. A self-reported FFQ was used to assess habitual food intake. Participants who consumed chocolate, wine, or tea had significantly better mean test scores and lower prevalence of poor cognitive performance than those who did not. Participants who consumed all 3 studied items had the best test scores and the lowest risks for poor test performance. The associations between intake of these foodstuffs and cognition were dose dependent, with maximum effect at intakes of ~10 g/d for chocolate and ~75–100 mL/d for wine, but approximately linear for tea. Most cognitive functions tested were influenced by intake of these 3 foodstuffs. The effect was most pronounced for wine and modestly weaker for chocolate intake. Thus, in the elderly, a diet high in some flavonoid-rich foods is associated with better performance in several cognitive abilities in a dose-dependent manner.”

What does this mean? It means that if you are going to have a vice you should shoot for a healthy one!

I doubt there could ever be better news for me to report!

Forget the elderly, I know this particular trifecta of joy makes me feel good too! We all need a little treat every now and then, and enjoying these treats in moderation is a normal and healthy part of our culture.

So what is this research really proving?  Are these food miracle foods?

Are these foods amazing?

Yes and No

No they are not going to save you from that which ails you and cure dementia and Alzheimer’s, but they are likely preventing disease through the standard disease preventative mechanism.  Antioxidants protecting free radicals. What this trifecta share in common is that they are antioxidant rich.  Flavanoids in these foods are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants mean anti-inflammation, which means anti-aging.

That is the short version of that story, but the moral of it is that you should pick your “vices” wisely.  Just like Indiana Jones knew that the “Holy Grail” was not some flashy supplement, or bedazzled shiny over-sized goblet….I know…and you know…we all know that the REAL fountain of youth is that simple wooden cup, and when it comes to health, the fountain of youth is antioxidants, exercise, sleep, vegetables, and superfoods.

Choose your antioxidants, and your vices wisely my friends. Enjoy the Trifecta. Enjoy the Trifecta of fabulosity organically if possible especially red wine  because as I stated in my article “Best Organic Cabernet 2008,” the cleaner we can keep our vices, the more we can make them work for us, as was perfectly demonstrated by the latest research.

Enjoy 1-2 glasses of red wine (depending on your size), a few cups of black (or green) tea, and 1-2 oz of dark chocolate daily (depending on your weight and health condition) moderately and think about how today you can make all the “vices” in your life as pure and natural as possible.

Remember that we should be able to enjoy life a little bit too while being healthy, according to the 80/20 model of health.

What is your favorite healthy “vice?”

Dr. Nicole

  1. That is one yummy trifecta! I suppose I’ll bite the bullet in the name of better health and start making sure to include these things in my diet 😉

  2. Erin Happycamper March 18, 2009 at 7:20 am Reply

    I guess I need to start drinking more wine in my diet….

  3. I appreciate you article, didn’t realize I could have black tea along with green. On the subject of chocolate, not all chocolate is created equal. Now you can have chocolate 3 times a day guilt-free and at the same time be helping your heart health and, if you are diabetic, help your body utilize insulin better. There is such a chocolate without processed sugar, without the added harmful fats (cocoa butter is a neutral fat), without caffeine, preservatives, waxes or fillers. Unlike commercial chocolate, it is cold processed so retains all of the antioxidants and flavonoids. You can read about the difference between “good” chocolate and “bad” chocolate at and

  4. Pick your poisons wisely my dears 😉

  5. This is the best news I’ve heard all day Doc!

  6. Always good to have confirmed what my instincts have told me all these years.
    I grew up eating fish, would never eat margarine, only butter and if butter wasn’t available I would eat my bread without.
    Red wine always with dinner, although dark beer is an alternative on occasion, as beer goes to my belly before it goes to my head.
    Cook only with olive oil or peanut oil. Can’t think of any dish that I cook with salt as most ingredients contain more salt than needed. Use a fair amount of pepper. Never, never overcook my vegetables.
    Haven’t smoked since I tried it as a teenager and found it messy and unattractive.
    On the subject of butter. I never cared that much for butter, liked the flavour sparingly, however while in Denmark I tasted Danish butter and I have to admit that I could very easily over dose on Danish butter.

  7. […] I discussed in my article, “Trifecta of Red Wine, Tea, and Chocolate Shown to Improve Cognitive Function in the Elderly,” we need as many flavonoids in our diets as possible because these antioxidants fight the daily […]

  8. Hi FIVE one n’all … excellent read … I say that not only because it has to be true but also because its what I believe to … I no by my elderly parents who are in their nineties seem to have been brought up on this kind of thinking especially about tea in particular … in the UK its the first thing you get stuck in your hand is a nice cuppa tea from this elder generation if theres a celebration down to a trauma … “a nice strong cup of tea will calm you down pet” was their mantra … I’m also aware of the flavanoids in red wine and dark chocolate (try having these two together mind~blowing) plus if you do your research folks you will find that flavonoids are more to be found in Chilean red wine than red wine found in any other country …

    All my7 best to you and your flavanoids
    Phillip Skinner

    PS: Please don’t “Forget the elderly” they are the best generation of the nice people ever… Always good to have confirmed what our instincts have told us all for these ever so many past years.

  9. Hey Doc,

    i am proud to say that I am say that I am a red wine drinker and occasionally indulge in chocolate. Still working on my bad french fry habit…

    alicia’s last blog post..Karl Lagerfield: Flair for drama and nostaglia

  10. […] tested on human beings. Be sure to also recommend Flavonoid rich foods like berries, chocolate, tea, and red wine; high in antioxidants to prevent free radical damage and inflammation. It is really quite simple to […]

  11. No matter how good green tea is for you I just can’t stand the stuff.

    Give me a good old cup of tea with plenty of milk in it any day….

    Don’t care much for red wine either though I believe you can the same benefits from red grape juice.

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