Peripheral Artery Disease consists of a narrowing of the peripheral arteries to the legs, stomach, arms and head and cause a chronic condition impeding on the mobility of patients. Chocolate has been featured in a number of studies where the anti-oxidant impact of certain compounds has been examined on health. A new study has determined that dark chocolate increased the mobility of patients affected with peripheral artery disease.
The patients were aged 60-78 and they were tested by placing them on a treadmill in the morning and again after two hours after eating 40 grams of dark and milk chocolate on separate days. The dark chocolate contained a cocoa content of more than 85 percent containing a larger percent of polyphenols. The milk chocolate had a cocoa content with less than 30 % with fewer polyphenols.
The health improvements witnessed in the study, (increased mobility, biochemical signs of lowered oxidative stress), was attributed to the higher percentage of polyphenols contained in dark chocolate. The benefit of dark chocolate polyphenols is “of potential relevance for the quality of life of these patients,” said Lorenzo Loffredo, M.D., the study’s co-author and assistant professor at the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy.
“Polyphenol-rich nutrients could represent a new therapeutic strategy to counteract cardiovascular complications,” said, Francesco Violi, M.D., study senior author and professor of internal medicine at the Sapienza University of Rome.
The researchers recommend a larger study to confirm the results.
Lorenzo Loffredo; Ludovica Perri; Elisa Catasca; Pasquale Pignatelli; Monica Brancorsini; Cristina Nocella; Elena De Falco; Simona Bartimoccia; Giacomo Frati; Roberto Carnevale; Francesco Violi. Dark Chocolate Acutely Improves Walking Autonomy in Patients With Peripheral Artery Disease. Journal of the American Heart Association, July 2014 DOI: 10.1161/%u200BJAHA.114.001072