Dark chocolate found to enhance blood flow to legs

Worth a try?

Dark chocolate found to enhance blood flow to legs

Peripheral artery disease is characterized by obstructed or narrowed arteries decreasing the blood flow between the heart and the brain, stomach, legs and hands. Common symptoms include fatigue, cramping or pain in the hips and legs.

Dark chocolate is particularly high in plant compounds known as polyphenols, particularly flavanols. Polyphenols — found to a certain degree in all plant foods — act as antioxidants in the body, and evidence increasingly suggests that they may play a key role in promoting health and fighting disease. Evidence suggests that the high polyphenol content of chocolate may be behind many of its disease-fighting benefits.

“Nutrients are key components of health and disease,” said study co-author Lorenzo Loffredo, MD.

Researchers assigned 20 peripheral artery disease patients between the ages of 60 and 78 to eat 40 grams of either dark chocolate or milk chocolate. The dark chocolate was made with at least 85 percent cocoa, to give it a high polyphenol content. The milk chocolate had a cocoa content of just 30 percent.

Just before eating the chocolate and two hours after, participants walked on a treadmill and researchers measured their performance. Researchers found that people who had eaten the dark chocolate walked 15 percent longer after eating the chocolate than they had before eating it. In addition, they walked 11 percent farther before tiring than people who had eaten the milk chocolate.

Read more here.

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