A 1% gain in the flexibility of your arteries lowers your risk of a cardiovascular event (e.g. heart attack, stroke) by about 12.5%, according to pooled data from 49 studies with over 20,000 participants (published in the Journals of the American Heart Assn. and the Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging). Cocoa flavanols (900mg daily) have shown to improve artery flexibility from 2% to 3%, translating into a predicted cardiovascular event risk reduction of 25% to 37%!
This predictive data matches actual results from the the recent COSMOS study, finding a 27% reduction in cardiovascular death among people consuming 500mg of cocoa flavanols daily. And don’t forget that arterial flexibility also supports your exercise performance by allowing greater delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tired muscles.
Unfortunately, our artery flexibility or flow mediated artery dilation (FMD) declines as we age, averaging 8% at age 20, 6% at age 45 and only 5% at age 65, according to a meta analysis conducted by Dr. Sophie Holder and published in the Journal of the American Heart Assn.
The great news is that daily cocoa flavanols consumption can get most people back to the 8% level they enjoyed at 20 years old, enhancing cardiovascular health, supporting exercise performance and, of course, pleasing your taste buds!