For several years, cocoa and chocolate have recommended for their health benefits. Nowadays, epidemiological and clinical reports showed that cocoa and chocolate could protect blood vessels, produce some aphrodisiac and mood-lifting effects.
Report of Brian et al which published on Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 found that cocoa intake benefits for lowering blood pressure and reduction total cardiovascular mortality. This study followed cocoa intake, blood pressure and total cardiovascular mortality of 470 elderly men during 15 years. Researchers investigated elderly men who consumed highest cocoa (above 2.25 g per day) was reduced 42% risk of cardiovascular mortality compared with other consumed lowest (below 0.5 g per day). Furthermore, they also showed that the cocoa intake and the blood pressure are positive relationship. The systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure of highest cocoa consumption group (above 2.30 g per day) were lower than the lowest cocoa consumption (below 0.36 g per day)
The mechanism was indicated that cocoa is a rich source of flavan-3-ols, which plays important roles in reduction blood pressure and improvement the endothelial function. The procyanidins in cocoa increases endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity in endothelial cells, so they improves the flexibility of blood vessels. In addition, cocoa includes antioxidants that protect LDL-cholesterol from oxidation, benefits for hyperlipidaemia patients.
Brian et al, 2006. Cocoa intake, blood pressure and cardiovascular mortality: The Zutphen Elderly Study. Arch Intern Med, 166: 411-417
Afoak E. Et al, 2008. Cocoa and chocolate consumption-Are there aphrodisiac and other benefits for human health. S Afr J Clin Nutr, 21 (3): 107-113
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