The benefits are achieved as antioxidants in cocoa stimulate crucial pathways at the cellular and molecular level. This is because cocoa stops brain cells from dying at both the cellular and molecular level.
The research found that cocoa activates a neuro-protective pathway which has a direct effect in preventing the death of neurons. They stimulate the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) pathway that helps keep neurons and brain signaling healthy.
Cocoa also helps prevent depression, boosts immunity, protects against colon cancer by working at level of cells. More research is needed into the role of cocoa in preventing neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.