Chocolate lovers rejoice! A new study has revealed that cocoa flavanols lower blood pressure and increase blood vessel function in healthy people.
New studies by the EU-funded FLAVIOLA research consortium demonstrate that consuming cocoa flavanols improves cardiovascular function and lessens the burden on the heart that comes with the ageing and stiffening of arteries.
The studies also provide novel data to indicate that intake of cocoa flavanols reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Researcher Malte Kelm said that with the world population getting older, the incidence of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and stroke will only increase, adding that it is therefore pivotal that people understand the positive impact diet can have on cardiovascular disease risk.
Cocoa flavanols are plant-derived bioactives from the cacao bean. Dietary intake of flavanols has been shown to have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health but the compounds are often destroyed during normal food processing.
The studies found that cocoa flavanols increase blood vessel flexibility and lower blood pressure
The two studies are published in the journals Age and the British Journal of Nutrition (BJN).