Study examines the positive effects of flavanols in cocoa products
Most people certainly like to eat chocolate every now and then. Consumption should not be overstated because chocolate contains a lot of sugar, among other things. Researchers have now found that eating so-called flavanol-rich cocoa products leads to better cardiovascular health.
Scientists at Brown University in the United States found that dark chocolate contains a lot of flavanole and that this substance improves human cardiovascular health. This finding is good news for all chocolate lovers. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Nutrition".
Doctors analyze the results of 19 controlled studies
The American researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 randomized controlled trials on cocoa consumption. In their investigation, the doctors focused on whether the consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa products is associated with an improvement in cardiovascular health. For comparison, some of the 1,139 volunteers in the study received only placebos.
Influence of cocoa flavanols on cardiometabolic biomarkers
The meta-analysis attempted to determine how cocoa flavanols affect human cardiometabolic biomarkers, says author Professor Simin Liu from Brown University in the United States. The scientists found that the intake of cocoa flavanols can reduce the likelihood of dyslipidemia.
What is dyslipidemia?
Such dyslipidemia is a lipid metabolism disorder. This is characterized by a non-standard concentration of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. The disease leads to insulin resistance and systemic inflammation. These are all important subclinical risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, explains Professor Liu.
Effects of consuming flavanols
Only small to modest benefits have been found when people consume flavanol-rich cocoa products. However, the identified benefits are still statistically significant improvements, the researchers say. The greatest positive effects were observed in volunteers who consumed between 200 and 600 milligrams of flavanole per day. The intake was based on the cocoa consumption of the participants. Doctors saw significant decreases in blood glucose and insulin. In addition, the intake of flavanols affected another indicator of insulin resistance called HOMA-IR and an increase in HDL levels (good cholesterol).
Beneficial effects are based on the consumption of dark chocolate
The participants in the meta-analysis mostly consumed dark chocolate. The authors explain that some subjects used beverages based on cocoa powder. Therefore, the results from the current study should not be generalized to different types of chocolates or white chocolate. In these, the content of sugar and food additives is normally much higher compared to dark chocolate. (as)