America certainly has a love affair with chocolate, with sales totaling more than $21 billion annually, according to a report by the National Confectioners Association. According to the same report 83 percent of consumers “believe chocolate can be part of a happy, balanced lifestyle.” But does eating chocolate come with health benefits?

Cocoa beans contain powerful compounds called flavanols, and numerous studies have been conducted on these plant-based nutrients. Many of them conclude that flavanols in cocoa can support healthy blood flow, which helps support cardiovascular and brain health.

For example, a study published by the British Journal of Nutrition explored how cocoa flavanols (specifically 450 mg twice-daily) could support cardiovascular health in middle-aged men and women. The study showed a cocoa flavanol supplement could improve endothelial function, an early marker of cardiovascular health and function. The intake of ccocoa flavanols was also shown to support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

Cacao Tree

Another study, published in Nature Neuroscience, evaluated adults who consumed either a high or low cocoa flavanol diet for three months and then measured cognitive performance as well as examined blood flow to a discrete area of the brain called the dentate gyrus (DG). This part of the brain is important because researchers believe this area of the brain is sensitive to declines attributable to aging. The study found that a high cocoa flavanol supplementation improved cognitive performance, as well as enhanced blood flow to the DG. Together these findings support that the intake of cocoa flavanols enhanced DG function, which indicates cocoa flavanols could play a role in supporting brain health as people age.

Is it realistic to consume 450 mg of flavanols each day, such as in the cardiovascular study above? Yes and no. Eating ordinary chocolate bars in order to get those flavanols in your body – even supposedly “healthier” dark chocolate – would be counterintuitive because the amount of calories, carbohydrates and sugar that all comes with the flavanols. In fact, it would take eight servings of the leading dark chocolate to get 450 mg of cocoa flavanols and 10 servings of the leading cocoa powder.

Instead, researchers at Mars, Inc. developed a way to extract the unique flavanols from cocoa so they are available to take as a supplement. CocoaVia™ cocoa extract supplement is available in a powdered drink mix and a capsule form, providing a guaranteed 450 mg of cocoa flavanols for 20 calories or less.

Cacao Beans and Cocoa

So, can chocolate be “good” for you? Maybe not chocolate exactly, but cocoa certainly can be.  In order to get the most brain and cardiovascular benefits, focus on flavanols first and consider the benefits a supplement like CocoaVia™ can offer.

© 2020 Silver Disobedience Inc. (SP)