Dark Chocolate May Help Improve Vascular Function
Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins, and has been linked to a number of health benefits. A new study suggests that dark chocolate may help improve vascular function.
The researchers recruited 30 people for their study. All of the participants were healthy and between the ages of 18 and 27. Half of them took 20 grams of dark chocolate containing 90% cocoa daily for 30 days. The other half took 20 grams of dark chocolate containing 50% cocoa. The researchers evaluated the participants using heart ultrasonography, carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, carotid pulse wave analysis, flow-mediated slowing, and ventricular-arterial coupling analysis at baseline and at the end of the study.
At the end of the study, the participants in the high cocoa group had significant improvements in brachial pressure, central systolic pressure, and pulse pressures, compared to the low cocoa group. The high cocoa group also had significant improvement in ventricular-arterial coupling, which increased from 0.674 to 0.719.
The study was conducted by researchers from Coimbra Health School and the University of Gothenburg. It was published online ahead of print on February 27, 2019 in the journal Nutrition.