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Dietary Cocoa Flavanols Improve Vascular And Blood Pressure Measures For Coronary Artery Disease Patients
Date:7/6/2010

A new study by UCSF cardiologists and researchers found that high concentrations of cocoa flavanols decrease blood pressure, improve the health of blood vessels and increase the number of circulating angiogenic cells in patients with heart disease. The findings indicate that foods rich in flavanols – such as cocoa products, tea, wine, and various fruits and vegetables – have a cardio-protective benefit for heart disease patients.

(Vocus) July 6, 2010 -- A new study by UCSF cardiologists and researchers found that high concentrations of cocoa flavanols decrease blood pressure, improve the health of blood vessels and increase the number of circulating angiogenic cells in patients with heart disease. The findings indicate that foods rich in flavanols – such as cocoa products, tea, wine, and various fruits and vegetables – have a cardio-protective benefit for heart disease patients.

Findings will be published online July 5th and in the July 13, 2010 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC).

Flavanols are phytonutrient compounds that are found naturally in apples, grapes, tea, cocoa and cherries, which account for the antioxidant effect provided by red wine and green tea. The study found a protective effect from a cocoa drink with 375 mg of flavanols, but according to researchers, a standard or recommended dosage has not yet been defined to achieve optimal health benefit.

The UCSF team has shown for the first time that one of the possible mechanisms of flavanol’s benefit is an increase in the circulation of so-called angiogenic cells in the blood. These cells, also known as early endothelial progenitor cells, are critical for the repair process after vascular injury, and perform function and maintenance roles in the endothelium. Endothelium is the thin layer of cells that line the interior wall of blood vessels.
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