hot chocolate helps periphery artery disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a narrowing of the arteries that reduces blood flow to your legs. It is really common, affecting over 8.5 million Americans and 800,000 Canadians over the age of 40. 12%-29% of elderly people are hampered by it. But the best treatment may also be the best tasting treatment!

Because blood flow to the legs is constricted, the main symptoms of PAD are pain, tightness, cramping, weakness or other discomfort in leg muscles in while walking. PAD can cause people severe difficulty walking It is important to find natural solutions for PAD because few conventional therapies are available.

But when 44 people with PAD were asked to drink either a placebo drink or—get this—hot chocolate in a double-blind study, the ones drinking the hot chocolate improved.

Now, before you reach for a mug of hot chocolate, it can’t be just any chocolate: it has to be real chocolate. The chocolate they drank was unsweetened 85% dark chocolate. The flavanol-rich chocolate provided 75mg of the flavonoid epichatechin. They drank three cups of this hot chocolate or three cups of a placebo hot drink for six months.

The people who were lucky enough to be in the hot chocolate group had improved blood flow to their calves compared to the placebo group. They also had increased mitochondrial activity and other improvement to muscle health. The improvements were potent enough to generate a significant improvement of almost 43 meters in the six minute walking test, while the people on placebo had their distance decline by 24.2 meters.

This study has discovered that dark chocolate improves blood flow and mitochondrial activity in the leg, meaning that dark chocolate is a safe, inexpensive, delicious way to “produce significant improvements in calf muscle health, blood flow, and walking performance for PAD patients,” according to the study authors.

This study adds to the huge pile of studies on the benefits of dark chocolate for cardiovascular disease. For the rest of the huge pile, see our new book Chocolate: Superfood of the Gods.


Circulation Research 2020;doi:10.1161/cCIRCRESAHA.119.315600


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Our newest book, Chocolate: Superfood of the Gods, is now available in Chapters and Indigo stores in Toronto. If you live in Toronto, get your copy today to find out way more on why dark chocolate is good for you.

The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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