Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Cocoa compound improves blood flow

A new study identifies the flavanol, (-)epicatechin, as one of the bioactive nutrients in cocoa that can improve the ability of blood vessels to relax.

The researchers demonstrated that the relaxation response mediated by cocoa flavanols is dependent on nitric oxide, a key signal released by the inner lining of blood vessels essential for normal blood vessel function and healthy blood flow.

"Pinpointing specific nutrients responsible for the observed cardiovascular effects, as we are seeing here with (-)epicatechin, opens up new possibilities for the development of dietary or therapeutic interventions for cardiovascular disease," said co-author Norman Hollenberg, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Mars, Inc. provided the flavanol-rich cocoa for the study. Here is some information on their product.

Other foods also contain beneficial flavonoids. Here is a small list of those foods.

In search of the healing power of chocolate from NPR.

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