Scientists have found that consuming cocoa flavanols – naturally occurring compounds in cocoa – may offer a benefit to those affected by type-2 diabetes.
Poor blood vessel function is recognized as an early stage in the development process of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis.
For more than 20 million Americans living with diabetes, these vascular impairments can eventually lead to heart disease and stroke, the cause of death for two-thirds of those who suffer from diabetes.
Despite good diabetes control and medical treatment, adults with the disease often continue to experience vascular dysfunction.
This has led scientists on a search for novel medical or nutritional options to improve the health and quality of life for people with diabetes.
In a subsequent controlled 30-day, double-masked clinical trial, adults with established diabetes who were medically controlled, drank either a flavanol-containing cocoa beverage or a low-flavanol control three times a day.
The cocoa beverages contained either 25 milligrams of cocoa flavanols (control) or 321 milligrams of cocoa flavanols (treatment) and were matched for calories, nutrients and other cocoa compounds such as theobromine and caffeine.
Beyond the immediate improvements in FMD following flavanol consumption, participants experienced sustained improvements in blood vessel function upon consuming the flavanol-containing cocoa over a period of 30 days (30 percent increase in FMD between day one and 30).
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