If you’re into beet juice–like AIM’s Red Rush or RediBeets–then you probably already know the value of healthy veins. The endothelial lining of your veins is where dietary-nitrate derived nitric oxide–now thought to be as fundamental to respiration as oxygen and carbon dioxide–is produced. It’s a vasodilator, helping blood flow easily throughout the body and lowering blood pressure, too. If your endothelium is in bad shape, then your body may have trouble producing nitric oxide easily. That’s where cocoa flavanols come in.
You see, there are quite a few things out there that can damage the endothelial lining of your veins: smoking, high fructose corn syrup, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stress, being overweight, low levels of vitamin D and depleted magnesium levels. As you age, your endothelium gets worn down regardless. Do not despair. According to a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the consumption of cocoa flavanols has been linked to improved endothelial function and better Framingham Risk Scores in healthy people. (The Framingham Risk Score is an algorithm developed to assess the ten-year cardiovascular risk of an individual).
The study looked at healthy middle-aged people who did not display symptoms of cardiovascular disease. These subjects consumed 450 mg of cocoa flavanols every day for a month, and even though these folks had normal-functioning cardiovascular systems, their veins were performing even better after just two weeks.
At 1 month, CF (cocoa flavanols) increased FMD (flow-mediated dilation) over control by 1·2 % (95 % CI 1·0, 1·4 %). CF decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 4·4 mmHg (95 % CI 7·9, 0·9 mmHg) and 3·9 mmHg (95 % CI 6·7, 0·9 mmHg), pulse wave velocity by 0·4 m/s (95 % CI 0·8, 0·04 m/s), total cholesterol by 0·20 mmol/l (95 % CI 0·39, 0·01 mmol/l) and LDL-cholesterol by 0·17 mmol/l (95 % CI 0·32, 0·02 mmol/l), whereas HDL-cholesterol increased by 0·10 mmol/l (95 % CI 0·04, 0·17 mmol/l). By applying the Framingham Risk Score, CF predicted a significant lowering of 10-year risk for CHD, myocardial infarction, CVD, death from CHD and CVD. In healthy individuals, regular CF intake improved accredited cardiovascular surrogates of cardiovascular risk, demonstrating that dietary flavanols have the potential to maintain cardiovascular health even in low-risk subjects.
- Systolic blood pressure decreased by 4.4 mmHg
- Diastolic blood pressure decreased by 3.9 mmHg
- Total cholesterol down by .20 mmol/l
- LDL cholesterol down by .17 mmol/l
- Potential to maintain cardiovascular health even in low-risk subjects
Framingham Risk Score predicted lower risk of:
- Coronary heart disease,
- Myocardial infarction
- Cardiovascular disease
- Death by coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease
The AIM Companies offers an abundant array of cocoa flavanols through CoCoa LeafGreens. Made with three types of cocoa as well as healthy green vegetables like the leaves of faba bean, field pea, spinach and barley and broccoli sprout. It’s a tasty and heart healthy way to keep your veins in tip-top shape. It also makes a great companion piece to AIM’s beet products like Red Rush or RediBeets.