How Cocoa can Bring Relief to Those with Peripheral Artery Disease
Drinking a cup of chocolate every day could increase the blood flow in those over 60 years of age, according to a recent study.
The study, published in American Heart Association's journal Circulation Research, was conducted on 44 people above 60 with common peripheral artery disease also known as 'PAD'.
Due to this condition, the arteries in the legs become narrower, restricting blood flow.
It was found that people who drank a mugful of cocoa thrice every day for 6 months were able to walk up to 42.6 metres further in a 6-minute walking test at the end of the test period.
Those who consumed placebo beverage (minus the cocoa) had a 24.2 metre decline at the end of the 6 months.
Researchers said cocoa is rich with epicatechin, a compound that is also found in dark chocolate, which helps boost blood circulation.
The lead author of the study is Mary McDermott, professor of medicine at Chicago’s Northwestern University. She said there are very few therapies available for PAD patients.
“Other than reduced blood flow, people with peripheral artery disease have been shown to have damaged mitochondria in their calf muscles,” she added.
Mitochondria is referred to as the powerhouse of the cells in the human body.
Those who consumed the cocoa, the study found, had increased mitochondrial activity and blood vessel density.
Peripheral arterial disease is more likely in people who smoke or have diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
McDermott said if the study results are confirmed in a larger trial, cocoa could prove to be an inexpensive and safe edible to improve calf muscle strength and blood flow.
The researchers underlined that regular chocolate, which is loaded with sugar, would not yield the same results as they used ordinary cocoa.
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