So new research is being done to get to the truths behind cocoa's potential health benefits. Researchers from Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital are conducting a four-year study with 18,000 participants.
JoAn Manson, co-principal investigator of the study, comments that favonoids are compounds found in cocoa, and that they can bring promising effects in cardiovascular, cognitive and cancer diseases.
However, the evidence to date has been inconclusive, Manson adds. Although the favorable effects on lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, dilation of blood vessels, and improving insulin sensitivity and the ability to metabolize glucose are imminent.
Another research called COSMOS, focused on the intake of cocoa-based multivitamin supplements, is investigating the possible anti-cancer benefits by taking multivitamins daily and evaluating health conditions that increase with age, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and dementia.
Men over 60 and women over 65 without a history of cardiovascular disease and without having been diagnosed with cancer in the last two years participate in the study. Each participant takes three pills a day, be it cocoa flavonoids, multivitamins, combinations, or placebos. Many of the study volunteers undergo blood samples, others periodic physical and cognitive examinations.
Manson said the flavonoids in cocoa are believed to promote nitric oxide production in blood vessels, which dilate and relax arteries, helping to reduce pressure and thus keep the blood flowing to meet the body's needs.
Howard Sesso, another co-principal investigator of the study, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of nutrition research in the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham, argues that one of the difficulties in formulating diets, In studies, it can vary widely by the amount of flavonoids that dark chocolate or cocoa bars contain, due to differences in the processing and content of the cocoa beans.
Sesso ends by saying that we must focus on the most bioactive components of cocoa so as not to be confused with conventional chocolate bars and carry out a large-scale trial, to provide the most definitive evidence of its effects on health.
The Epoch Times