(NaturalNews) According to a small study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, people with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) were able to walk longer distances unassisted after consuming dark chocolate as opposed to mere milk chocolate.(1) Polyphenols, which are chemicals that are found in a range of healthy foods, from dark chocolate and strawberries to purple grapes and red cabbage, have long been touted fro their health benefits.(2) Everything from reduction of high blood pressure levels to diabetes management has been linked to diets rich in polyphenols.
Outcome of study assessing PAD patients and their type of chocolate consumption
The study analyzed men and women aged 60-78 with the condition, which can cause pain and cramps that make walking extremely difficult.(1) After being given dark chocolate and asked to use a treadmill on one day, and then eating milk chocolate and using a treadmill on another day, it was observed that those who ate the dark chocolate walked 11 percent farther and 15 percent longer, or 39 feet farther and approximately 17 seconds longer, compared to the milk chocolate eaters. The dark chocolate contained over 85 percent cocoa content while the milk chocolate had less than 30 percent.(2)
Furthermore, the participants' levels of oxidative stress were lower when they ingested dark chocolate as was their nitric oxide levels, which helps improve blood flow.
What the study results may mean for helping heart health in the future
Lorenzo Loffredo, M.D., the study's co-author and assistant professor at the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy says that while the boost in walking ability may seem modest, it's an important change in the lives of people with PAD where walking is often challenging.(1)
So important is this finding that Francesco Violi, M.D., study senior author and professor of internal medicine at the Sapienza University of Rome says that "Polyphenol-rich nutrients could represent a new therapeutic strategy to counteract cardiovascular complications."(1)
Additionally, other studies have found there to be many benefits of eating foods rich in polyphenols. For example, it's been found that the chemical may not only help heart patients, but that it may also keep cancers, allergies and arthritis at bay.(2)
Other research has also shed light on findings that individuals with a high intake of polyphenols have a 30 percent reduction in mortality.(3)
About the author: A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well.