HealthDay News — According to a new analysis published in the Journal of Nutrition, there is more support suggesting that cocoa found in chocolate may provide some health benefits
Xiaochen Lin, a graduate student at Brown University in Providence, RI, and colleagues reviewed 19 controlled trials that involved a total of 1131 participants eating cocoa flavanols or a placebo. The participants assigned to consume the flavanols either ate or drank as little as 166 mg a day or as much as 2110 mg. They consumed the foods for as little as 2 weeks or as long as a year.
The researchers found that those who ate the cocoa flavanol foods had lower levels of triglycerides, potentially boosting cardiovascular health. Also, tests suggested their bodies were more efficiently controlling inflammation and blood glucose. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels also rose slightly in those who ate the cocoa flavanol foods.
According to Lin, these differences were small-to-modest, but still significant from a statistical perspective. The studies also suggest that the effects are the same regardless of whether people are overweight or have certain other health problems. The researchers do note that most of the studies looked at dark chocolate (bittersweet or semisweet) specifically.
Funding was received from the US National Institutes of Health and the Mars candy company as well as the American Heart Association and Pfizer.
Lin X, et al. “Cocoa Flavanol Intake And Biomarkers For Cardiometabolic Health: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis Of Randomized Controlled Trials”. Journal of Nutrition. 2016. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.237644. [Epub ahead of print]