“A man is as old as his arteries,” observed the great English physician Thomas Sydenham more than 300 years ago.
More recently, Harvard Health Watch observed, “Your health is only as good as your arteries, since arteries carry vital oxygen-rich blood to all your body’s tissues”.
Today we are fortunate to have scientific studies that point to actionable steps for managing arterial health. High on the list…daily cocoa flavanol consumption!
Cocoa flavanols have a robust effect on how much your arteries can flex to accommodate blood flow. Studies have shown that daily consumption of 900mg of cocoa flavanols increase this ‘flow mediated dilation’ by more than 25% across a range of ages!
How do they do it? By increasing nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide helps keep arteries open, elastic and healthy. (Plaques that build up in our arteries have exactly the opposite effect!)
Regular exercise is impactful as well. Scientists in Italy studied four groups of healthy people: young exercisers, young non-exercisers, elderly exercisers, and elderly non-exercisers. Comparing sedentary youths with sedentary seniors, they found that age took a substantial toll on endothelial function and nitric oxide production. But in people who exercised regularly, age had a much smaller effect. Indeed, exercise helped keep arteries young.
How young are your arteries? #havaflava!