AACHEN, Germany New research indicates that an ingredient found in cocoa could help diabetics stay free of heart disease.
According to scientists at the University Hospital Aachen in Germany, the flavanols in cocoa, a chemical also found in tea and red wine, can raise the body’s production of nitric oxide, a naturally produced chemical in the body that tells arteries to relax. This could result in a beneficial effect on heart functions, they said.
The researchers conducted a study on patients with type 2 diabetes to measure the effects of using an enriched form of cocoa containing higher levels of flavanols. The study found that those who drank cocoa had improved arterial functions. Over the course of one month, blood flow in the patient’s formerly restricted vessels improved by 30 percent.
“These are interesting findings,” one spokesperson from Diabetes U.K. said. “But we don’t advise people to start drinking lots of hot chocolate, as it can be high in sugar and fat.”