Home Life Style Dark chocolate improves blood circulation—particularly if you are male

Dark chocolate improves blood circulation—particularly if you are male

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 Dark chocolate improves blood circulation

A new study by researchers at the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health shows that eating dark chocolate is good for health because it protects against cardiovascular disease. This protective effect was demonstrated especially in men.

Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common diseases worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, chronic diseases are responsible for 63% of deaths, and of these, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality. Cardiovascular disease refers to damage of the heart and blood vessels and a feature of this is impaired blood flow, that is blood clots. Atherosclerosis contributes to impaired blood flow and this is one of the precipitating factors for stroke and myocardial infarction.

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

Besides atherosclerosis, an important  role in forming blood clots is played by blood platelets, which normally bind to stop the bleeding. In cardiovascular disease platelets become overactive and accumulates around a atheromatous plaque . Thus increases the risk of artery blockage and so stroke or myocardial infarction appear.

Platelet function may be influenced by various medications or food. There are certain compounds found in green tea, fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and others, which seems to improve the function of platelets. Latest studies show that   flavanols, which are found in cocoa have major benefit in improving blood circulation.

To prove this,  researchers conducted a study: they assess platelet function in healthy individuals after they consumed dark chocolate and white chocolate. They took blood and urine samples at two and six hours after they ate chocolate.

Dr Baukje of Roos, from the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, said that the role of platelets in healthy individuals is to heal wounds and stop bleeding, but under certain conditions, such as obesity, diabetes or smoking, platelets become overactive and lead to thrombosis, ie blood clots that can block arteries. In other words, the risk of heart attack or stroke greatly increases. She added that it was long known that flavonols prevent platelets to aggregate but how they did it was not clear.

It was found that specially enriched dark chocolate greatly decreases the risk of platelet activation and aggregation, especially in men and the effect is maximal at 2 hours after consumption. In women it seems that flavonols only decreases the risk of platelet aggregation. However, Dr De Roos emphasized that this study should not encourage individuals to consume excessive amounts of chocolate, because chocolate is high in sugar and fat, but it would be good for people to choose dark chocolate with 70% cocoa.