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A Cup of Hot Chocolate a Day

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Drinking hot chocolate could help over 60s stay on their feet after a study shows cocoa boosts blood circulation in the legs.

Those who drank a mug of cocoa three times a day for six months were able to walk significantly further in a walking test at the end of the study.

Cocoa is abundant in a compound called epicatechin, also found in dark chocolate.

Researchers think it’s epicatechin that may improve blood flow to participants’ calves, allowing them to go the extra distance.

The study was done on people with the common peripheral artery disease or ‘PAD,’ which is a narrowing of the arteries.

A fifth of people over 60 in the UK have some degree of PAD, causing pain, tightness and cramping in leg muscles while walking.

Commenting on the findings, study author Professor Mary McDermott, at Northwestern University in Chicago, US, said: ‘Few therapies are available for improving walking performance in people with PAD.’

Dr Naomi Hamburg, chair of the American Heart Association’s Peripheral Vascular Disease Council, added:  ‘Patients with PAD have difficulty walking that is as bad as people with advanced heart failure.

‘Leg muscles don’t get enough blood supply in PAD leading to injury and in this study, cocoa appeared to be protecting the muscle and improving metabolism.

‘We know that exercise therapy helps people with PAD walk farther, and this early study suggests that cocoa may turn out to be a new way to treat people with PAD.

‘We will need larger studies to confirm whether cocoa is an effective treatment for PAD, but maybe, someday, if the research supports it, we may be able to write a prescription for chocolate for our patients with PAD.’

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The post A Cup of Hot Chocolate a Day appeared first on LewRockwell.

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