However, the scientific data that cocoa flavanols may make an important contribution to cardiovascular health continues to grow rapidly. Currently, one important pathway in vascular biology that cocoa flavanols can influence has been identified - NO synthesis. Possibly there are more, e.g. prostaglandin and eicosanoid synthesis.
Human experiments demonstrate that the consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa and chocolate can at least transiently influence platelet function, improve endothelial function, and reduce blood pressure. Unfortunately, as with other flavanol sources such as grapes, tea, and apples, flavanols in cocoa are generally reduced or eliminated during post-harvest handling and production of finished food and beverage products. This indicates that further investment in food technology is required to translate the potential cardiovascular health benefit of flavanols in cocoa into products that can have real public health impact.
This research should be pursued in parallel with further investigation of the potential clinical health benefits for the simple reason that compliance is the ultimate key to public health impact, and cocoa-based products may offer an extraordinary opportunity to successfully improve compliance. Ôûá
A version of this article with full references can be found in the Reference Section on the website supporting this business briefing (www.touchcardiology.com).