A review of the cardioprotective mechanisms of cocoa. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Cardioprotective Mechanisms of Cocoa.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2019 Jan 8:1-12. Epub 2019 Jan 8. PMID: 30620683
Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of deaths in highly developed countries. Dietetic interventions that involve recommendations for consumption of products with a confirmed health-improving action are an important aspect of prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Cocoa is an alimentary product with significant cardioprotective potential due to its high content of bioactive compounds. The aim of the present study was to review the most recent literature concerning the effectiveness and mechanisms of action of compounds contained in cocoa with regard to selected cardiovascular risk factors and cardiometabolic markers. Study results indicate that cocoa consumption, especially in the form of dark chocolate with high flavonoid content, may be a good strategy to diminish cardiovascular risk due to its beneficial effect on platelet aggregation, decreasing blood pressure, diminishing dyslipidemia, and decreasing blood plasma glucose concentration. Many studies have shown that cocoa-derived flavonoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and also play a significant role in preventing insulin resistance. However, in order to completely confirm the potential cardiovascular benefits, it is necessary to conduct larger and longer studies, also with regard to potential dangers associated with long-term consumption of large amounts of flavonoids and determination of a safe and effective dose. Key teaching points Cocoa consumption may be a good strategy in diminishing cardiovascular risk. Beneficial effects on platelet aggregation, blood pressure, dyslipidemia, glycemia, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity are observed. There is a need to conduct larger and longer studies to determine a safe and effective dose of cocoa flavonoids.