According to researchers with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, past studies have highlighted the potential of cocoa flavanols to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases while offering antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity and other heart-healthy benefits.
In fact, they conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS) of 21,442 participants aged 60 years and older who were randomly assigned to receive a cocoa extract supplement containing 500 milligrams of flavanols, including 80 mg epicatechins, a multivitamin supplement, neither of those or or both of those options daily from June 2015 through December 2020.
The study participants who received cocoa flavanols had a 27% reduction in death from cardiovascular disease. The incidence of three cardiovascular events, heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths, was also significantly reduced. Not surprisingly, at least not to me, additional benefits were also seen in those who took their supplements regularly. Among this group, there was a 15% reduction in total cardiovascular events and a 39% reduction in death from cardiovascular disease. While those taking the daily multivitamin had no significant reduction in total or individual cardiovascular events.
Cocoa flavanols, found in high-quality dark chocolate and cocoa products as well as in supplement form, have been found to be useful not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases but also improving human health and quality of life.
So what does this mean for you? You can include chocolate and cocoa in your diet and know you are doing something good for your health. Just be sure to choose organic dark chocolate, preferably 70% cacao or higher. Raw cacao nibs have the highest levels of polyphenols. If at all possible, it’s best to buy them whole and grind them in a coffee grinder. Consuming one half to 1 ounce per day, which you can easily add to a smoothie, provides great benefits. If the chocolate is processed from cacao seeds that are not roasted, then you’re buying “raw chocolate” which is ideal, since processing significantly reduces the flavanol content. Here are links for two brands of raw cacao powders.
How do you feel about being able to include dark chocolate and raw cacao daily guilt-free?
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