The chocolate heart connection: Can cocoa help keep your heart healthy?

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What’s This All About?

You know chocolate, right? Not just the sweet treat, but the actual stuff it’s made from cocoa. Well, scientists have found out something cool about cocoa. It might help keep our hearts healthy!

The Big Study

A team of researchers led by Howard Sesso and JoAnn Manson conducted a study, called the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (or COSMOS for short), to see if a supplement, or a special pill, with cocoa flavanols, could prevent heart disease and cancer.

Even though the cocoa supplement didn’t reduce the number of heart-related incidents as much as they hoped, it did something exciting.

It lowered the rate of death from heart disease by 27%. This result has the scientists intrigued!

What Exactly Are Flavanols?

Flavanols are compounds found in foods like cocoa, tea, grapes, and berries. But the cocoa flavanols we’re talking about here aren’t from chocolate.

Instead, they’re from a cocoa extract supplement. So, you won’t get these from your regular chocolate bar!

What Do Flavanols Do?

Some previous studies suggested that flavanols might help lower blood pressure and make blood vessels work better.

But the COSMOS study was the first to investigate if a cocoa flavanol supplement could reduce heart-related incidents over the long term.

How Was the Study Conducted?

In the study, more than 21,000 participants were given daily capsules containing 500 mg of cocoa flavanols. They were also given a multivitamin tablet.

The researchers watched out for heart-related events, like heart attacks, strokes, and death from heart disease.

The Results?

While the cocoa flavanols didn’t significantly lower the total heart-related events, they did lower death from heart disease by 27%.

And when the participants were good about taking their pills, the reduction was even better: 39% fewer deaths from heart disease!

However, it’s important to note that these results still need to be verified in another study.

And What About the Multivitamins?

A daily multivitamin didn’t really affect heart-related incidents or cancer. The study also didn’t find any safety concerns with either the cocoa flavanols or the multivitamin.

What’s Next?

Even though this study found some promising results, we’re not there yet. Further research is needed to confirm these findings.

So, what can you do in the meantime? The researchers suggest eating a healthy diet rich in natural foods that contain flavanols.

So go ahead, and enjoy your fruits, vegetables, and even some dark chocolate. Just remember to keep it balanced!

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and flu and COVID vaccines may increase heart disease risk.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about how to lower heart disease risk if you have diabetes, and results showing she retired from playing football at 41, had heart attack at 43.

The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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