February is American Heart Month so what better time to explore the extraordinary cardiovascular benefits of cocoa flavanols. Can you think of another nutrient, supplement or drug shown to reduce cardiovascular death by over 25% while also supporting exercise performance? Here is a look at five compelling cardio benefits of cocoa flavanols:
1. Decrease Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke and Death: Harvard Medical School’s massive 21,400-person, five-year, placebo controlled study of daily cocoa flavanol consumption (500mg), COSMOS, is one of the largest controlled studies of any nutrient, supplement or drug of all time! And the results are even more impressive:
- 27% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular death
- 24% reduction in major cardiovascular events among participants consuming cocoa flavanols daily
2. Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol: Nearly 1 in 2 American adults have high blood pressure or cholesterol. The good news is numerous studies of cocoa flavanols show meaningful reductions in both blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), while simultaneously raising HDL (good cholesterol).
3. Reduce Blood Sugar: High blood sugar is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and depression. Fortunately, four well-controlled studies show that cocoa flavanols lower blood sugar by over 10% and improve insulin resistance by nearly 40%!
4. Improve Circulation: Cocoa flavanols have a robust effect on artery flexibility and blood flow. In fact, studies show that consuming 900mg of cocoa flavanols daily increases artery elasticity by more than 25% across a range of ages! Plaques that build up in arteries have exactly the opposite effect.
5. Support Exercise Performance: Did you know your arteries and vessels expand every time you climb a flight of stairs, go for a run or grab a workout? This process is called vasodilation and cocoa flavanols are nature’s perfect vasodilator – effective and tasty! Here’s how vasodilation promotes exercise performance:
- Increases the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to working muscles
- Raises the lactic acid production threshold
- Supports muscle fibers with the oxygen and nutrients to repair efficiently