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Cocoa flavanols improve circulatory health

Earlier trials found a link between cocoa flavanols and better circulation.

In this study, 45 healthy men, aged 18 to 35, took a placebo, or about 550 mg of procyanidins, plus either 20 mg or 130 mg of epicatechins, with breakfast for one month. Both flavanols were from cocoa extract.

Doctors excluded men who had taken antibiotics or vitamins within the last 90 days, those on a vegan, vegetarian, or other extreme diets, and those who consumed more than two alcoholic drinks per day. Twenty-four hours before beginning the 30-day trial, doctors asked the men to not eat flavanol-rich foods including fruits, vegetables, cocoa, chocolate, tea, coffee, or alcohol.

After one month, men in the high-dose epicatechins group saw significant increases in the ability of blood vessels and arteries to relax and dilate, and improvements in their flexibility, both of which are keys to circulatory and heart health.

Both cocoa flavanol groups also saw lower total cholesterol levels compared to placebo, which doctors believe is due to the action of the procyanidins.

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