Cocoa consumption may improve walking in patients with peripheral arterial disease, according to a study recently published by the American Heart Association.
In a small study of 44 patients with the condition over the age of 60, those who drank cocoa, a flavonoid-rich beverage three times a day for six months, were able to walk 43 meters longer on the 6-minute test compared to those who drank cocoa, a flavonoid-rich beverage three times a day for six months. who didn’t drink cocoa. It was noted that those who drank the test drink had improved blood flow in their legs.
Peripheral artery disease or PAD, a narrowing of the arteries that decreases blood flow from the heart to the legs, affects more than 8.5 million people aged 40 and over. Most have similar symptoms: pain, heaviness, cramps, weakness, or other discomfort in the leg muscles when walking.
“There are few treatments available to improve walking in people with PAD,” says study lead author Mary McDermott, MD, professor of medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago.
Participants were randomly selected to eat cocoa or a flavonoid-free variant (placebo). Data were measured while walking (at the start of the study and after six months).
As it turned out, those who took the test product completed the section of the path faster and walked more in 6 minutes (an average of 43 meters more) than those who drank the placebo. Using lab tests and MRI scans, researchers found increased mitochondrial activity, greater capillary density, and other improvements in muscle health in cocoa drinkers.
And do not rush to say that 43 meters is negligible! But these patients find it very difficult to walk, however, like almost all people suffering from severe heart failure.
Be warned, however, the study exclusively refers to natural, sugar-free cocoa powder, which is abundant in dark chocolate (> 85% cocoa). Regular chocolate contains no flavonoids. What’s more, it contains many other ingredients that are not considered healthy.