New study: Dark chocolate improves cardiovascular health

Study to Investigate the Benefits of Flavanols in Cocoa Products
Most people enjoy eating chocolate now and then. Consumption should not be exaggerated because chocolate contains, among other things, a lot of sugar. Researchers have now found that consuming so-called flavanol-rich cocoa products leads to better cardiovascular health.

Brown University researchers in the United States found in an investigation that dark chocolate contains a lot of flavanols and this substance improves human cardiovascular health. This statement is good news for all chocolate lovers. The physicians published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Nutrition".

Chocolate is generally very popular. But most people eat chocolate because of their taste and not because of the positive health effects.(Image: stockphoto-graf / fotolia.com) chocolate is generally very popular. But most people eat chocolate because of their taste and not because of the positive effects on their health.(Photo: stockphoto-graf / fotolia.com)

physicians analyze the results of 19 controlled trials
The American researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 randomized controlled trials on cocoa consumption. Physicians focused their research on whether consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa products is associated with improved cardiovascular health. For comparison, some of the 1,139 volunteer participants in the investigations received only placebos.

Influence of Cocoa Flavanols on Cardiometabolic Biomarkers
The meta-analysis attempted to determine how cocoa flavanols affect human cardiometabolic biomarkers, says author Professor Simin Liu of Brown University in the USA.The scientists found that intake of cocoa flavanols may reduce the likelihood of dyslipidemia.

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What is dyslipidemia?
Such dyslipidaemia is a lipid metabolism disorder. This is characterized by a deviating from the standard levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. The disease leads to insulin resistance and systemic inflammation. These are all important subclinical risk factors for cardiovascular disease, explains Professor Liu.

Effects of Flavanol
Use Only small to modest benefits have been found when people consume flavanol rich cocoa products. However, the benefits identified are still statistically significant improvements, the researchers say. The greatest positive effects were seen in volunteers who consumed between 200 and 600 milligrams of flavanols per day. The intake was based on the cocoa consumption of the participants. The physicians noted significant decreases in blood glucose and insulin. In addition, the intake of flavanols influenced another indicator of insulin resistance called HOMA-IR and an increase in HDL levels( good cholesterol).

Beneficial Effects Based on Consumption of Dark Chocolate
Most participants in the meta-analysis consumed dark chocolate. Some subjects used drinks based on cocoa powder, the authors explain. Therefore, the results from the current study should not be generalized to different types of chocolates or white chocolate. In these cases, the content of sugar and food additives is usually much higher, compared to dark chocolate.(as)

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