Flavanols may lower blood pressure, cholesterol in healthy people RESEARCH
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that consuming two flavanol drinks a day may lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Flavanols are found in cocoa, fruits, and tea.
The EU-funded project used powdered drinks provided by Mars, which contained flavanols extracted from fresh cocoa beans. In the study, 105 healthy people aged 35 to 60 years old consumed two drinks a day, each made by mixing powder into 500 mL of water. Half of the group were given a powder containing 450 mg of flavanol per serving, while the other half had a powder that tasted the same, but was free of flavanols. The participants did not know which drink they received, and were told to continue with their normal eating habits throughout the study.
The benefits to the heart and circulatory system were modest. The researchers found that those who consumed the flavanol drinks for a month saw a 3% reduction in blood pressure when the heart is contracting, and a drop in total cholesterol of 4%. The substances seem to work by improving the ability of blood vessels to widen and constrict.
The researchers suggest that the health benefits equate to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and heart attack of 1, 0.7, and 0.4 percentage points, respectively, over 10 years.
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