Here's a reason to get a bite of your favorite chocolate! Cocoa flavanols lower blood pressure and increase blood vessel function in healthy people, revealed two new studies.
The findings suggested that consuming cocoa flavanols improves cardiovascular function and lessens the burden on the heart that comes with the aging and stiffening of arteries. The two studies also provides novel data to indicate that intake of cocoa flavanols reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Researcher Malte Kelm said, "With the world population getting older, the incidence of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and stroke will only increase. It is therefore pivotal that people understand the positive impact diet can have on cardiovascular disease risk."
Cocoa flavanols are plant-derived bioactives derived from the cacao bean. Dietary intake of flavanols has been shown to have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health but these compounds are often destroyed during normal food processing. The studies revealed that cocoa flavanols increase blood vessel flexibility and lower blood pressure.
The two studies are published in the Age
and the British Journal of Nutrition (BJN).