What you need to know:
- Flavanols are a group of molecules occurring naturally in fruit and vegetables and are abundant in Green tea and cocoa
- They could protect consumers from mental stress-induced cardiovascular events such as stroke
Stress is a common part of life and has become an even bigger problem since the Covid-19 pandemic hit last year.
According to science, stress induces increases in heart rate and blood pressure and results in temporary impairment in the function of arteries.
Well, guess what? The contents of a jar common in most kitchen cabinets could be the difference between a deadly cardiovascular disease and some respite for when you are stressed.
Researchers have discovered blood vessels were able to function better during mental stress when people were given a cocoa drink containing high levels of flavanols than when drinking a non-flavanol enriched drink.
Increased consumption of flavanols – a group of molecules occurring naturally in fruit and vegetables and are abundant in Green tea too – could protect consumers from mental stress-induced cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart disease and thrombosis, says the research by the University of Birmingham-UK, published in Nutrients last month.
Here’s how it works: when functioning efficiently the endothelium – a thin membrane of cells lining the interior surface of blood vessels and heart – helps to reduce the risk of peripheral vascular disease, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, tumour growth, thrombosis, and severe viral infectious diseases.
“We found drinking cocoa can be an effective dietary strategy to reduce temporary impairments in endothelial function following mental stress and also improve blood flow during stressful episodes,” said lead author, Dr Catarina Rendeiro, of the University of Birmingham’s School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences.