Chocolate contains large amounts of flavonol, a substance that improves vascular function. Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) manifests impaired vascular function, with impaired blood flow in large arteries, such as the brachial artery in the upper arm.
Andreas Flammer, MD, University of Zurich, reported important findings concerning chocolate consumption and brachial arterial flow in patients with CHF. He made a presentation at the Heart Failure Congress June 1, 2010 revealing an increase in brachial artery blood flow from 4.98% to 5.98% (P=0.045), 2 hours after the patients ate 40 gram servings of chocolate.
Subjects who ate 80 grams of chocolate per day for 4 weeks showed improved brachial artery flow from 4.98% to 6.86%. Reduced stickiness of the patients’ platelets lasted for2 hours after the chocolate, then remained neutral for the next 2 to 4 weeks.
Same flavor, structure chocolate bars without flavonol produced no improvement from baseline measures of vascular and platelet function.
This trial was funded by Nestlé, which also supplied the chocolate used in the study.
Flammer disclosed he received research funding from Nestlé.