The studies keep coming — brain function! heart health! blood sugar! exercise performance! And the results are exciting, and overwhelmingly advocate for adding cocoa flavanols to your daily diet.
But…the findings can also be a bit dizzying. They don’t necessarily specify exactly how many, how often, or when…questions we receive daily.
Generally 500-1,000mg of flavanols daily were consumed in studies showing meaningful health and performance benefits. But, lets unpack this further, the long and the short of it!
The long: As little as 200mg of cocoa flavanols per day can support healthy circulation. In fact, in Europe food manufacturers can include the claim “Cocoa flavanols help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels which contributes to normal blood flow” on chocolate or cocoa powder delivering a minimum of 200mg of cocoa flavanols.
Improvements in brain function, cardio function and blood sugar, however, generally happen at 500mg daily. And functional benefits continue to increase with higher consumption, before leveling off at about 1,000mg per day.
The short: 500-1,000mg optimizes health and performance benefits, but as little as 200mg still offers #FlavaFuel!
The long: The good news is that cocoa flavanols have a proven benefit associated with even occasional consumption. But the even more exciting news is that these benefits build substantially when cocoa flavanols are consumed daily!
One study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed a remarkable 24% increase in blood vessel function and circulation (measured as flow mediated artery dilation, or FMD) just two hours after participants consumed their very first cocoa flavanols. Increases in FMD climbed steadily with daily use, nearly doubling by week three. Not surprisingly, most of the favorable studies we hear about are based on daily consumption over the course of one month, three months, or longer.
The short: Daily consumption maximizes cocoa flavanol’s wellness benefits, but even once in a while offers #FlavaFuel!
The long: Daily flavanol users need not stress over what time to HavaFlava as regular consumption raises vascular function and associated benefits around the clock. That said, there is an incremental short-term improvement that peaks two hours post flavanol consumption. So if you’re an athlete/fitness fanatic, have an important meeting/event coming up or are just an occasional cocoa flavanol user, consume your #FlavaFuel an hour or two in advance for an extra performance boost!
The short: Daily users can expect a full array of benefits regardless of when they consume their flavanols but will see an incremental performance boost two hours post consumption!