How Does Chocolate Help Reducing The Risk of Heart Diseases

Daily chocolate fix reduces heart disease risk in postmenopausal women.

Daily consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa may be helpful for menopausal women. 

Daily consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa reduced arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women – therefore lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes, a study revealed.

Researchers at the Nippon Sport Science University in Japan investigated the effects of regular cocoa drink intake of 26 postmenopausal women and realised they had less arterial stiffness after 12 weeks.

“These findings provide additional evidence that regular ingestion of cocoa helps to improve cardiovascular health among postmenopausal women,”​ they wrote in the journal Clinical Interventions of Aging.

Past investigations hinted that menopause remained a hazard factor for prolonged arterial stiffness suggesting that postmenopausal women have a greater possibility of acquiring cardiovascular disease (CVD).

“Acute and habitual intake of flavanol-enriched cocoa and/or dark chocolate was reported to increase flow-mediated vasodilator response, thereby effectively lowering blood pressure (BP),”​ researchers said.

“In addition, associations have been reported between habitual cocoa and/or dark-chocolate intake and reduced BP, antioxidant effects, improved blood lipid profiles, and reduced endothelin (ET)-1 vasoconstrictor activity.”

Daily Cocoa Drink

For the study, 26 postmenopausal women were divided into two groups. The first group drank a flavanol-rich cocoa mixture (17g powder) every day for 12 weeks. The second group took twice the amount every other day for 12 weeks as well.

The women were guided to maintain their usual food intake furthermore exercise, however not take tea or different flavanol-rich foods throughout the cocoa supplementation.

“Carotid femoral pulse wave Velocity and femoral ankle pulse wave velocity were measures at both groups at baseline and again at the end of 12 week study period,” the study said.

“Compared to baseline, both pulse-wave velocities had significantly decreased after the 12-week study period in both groups.”

Arterial stiffness can be concluded by estimating the increased aortic pulse wave energy (PWV) from a heart contraction. When the heart contracts it creates a pulse or energy flow that progresses through the circulatory system.

“The key finding of this study was that central and peripheral arterial stiffness decreased significantly in both groups after cocoa intake,”​ the researchers said.

“Considering the same dose of cocoa was ingested by each group, although at a different frequency, this indicates that intake recurrence does not affect the cocoa-induced variations in arterial stiffness.”

“Daily consumption of cocoa and/or dark chocolate has a profitable effect in the prevention of cardiovascular events,”​ the investigation concluded.

“We are not endorsing or branding any kinds of chocolates here.”

Source: CLINICAL INTERVENTIONS IN AGING

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