Flavanols science and research
Flavanols – the science
“Now, scientists believe the potential blood flow benefits associated with consumption of this flavanol-rich cocoa may extend to the brain — which could have important implications for learning and memory.”
International Journal of Medical Sciences
“Numerous dietary intervention studies with humans and experimental animals indicate that flavanol-rich foods and beverages can exert cardioprotective effects with respect to vascular function and platelet reactivity.”
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Memory and Cognitive
“Dietary cocoa flavanols — naturally occurring bioactives found in cocoa — reversed age-related memory decline in healthy older adults, according to a new study.”
Columbia University Medical Center
The Kuna Indians
“Pioneer observations by McCullough et al.(26) indicated that the Kuna Indians of Panama have a very low incidence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, but when members of this tribe moved to Panama urban places, their BP increased. The migration leads to cultural changes including an important decrease in cocoa consumption, making cocoa the potential responsible for the observed changes in BP”
Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition
Cognitive and Perfusion
“CBF (cerebral blood flow) was measured pre- and post-consumption of low (23 mg) or high (494 mg) 330 ml equicaloric flavanol drinks matched for caffeine, theobromine, taste and appearance according to a randomized counterbalanced crossover double-blind design in eight males and ten females, aged 50–65 years. Changes in perfusion from pre- to post-consumption were calculated as a function of each drink.
Significant increases in regional perfusion across the brain were observed following consumption of the high flavanol drink relative to the low flavanol drink, particularly in the anterior cingulate cortex and the central opercular cortex of the parietal lobe. Consumption of cocoa flavanol improved regional cerebral perfusion in older adults. This provides evidence for a possible acute mechanism by which cocoa flavanols are associated with benefits for cognitive performance”
“The chemical structure of flavonoids reveals their antioxidant capacity (Steinberg et al, 2003). These flavonoids can scavenge free radicals, and chelate (combine with) redox active metal ions. Such bioactive compounds could contribute to the maintenance of an integrated network of cellular and plasma oxidant defense mechanisms, to vascular wall tone, and to a reduction in platelet reactivity with a subsequent reduction in the risk for clot formation.
The flavan-3-ols (flavanols) are the major antioxidant components of different cocoa ingredients and chocolate preparations. Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) data show that chocolate, as a whole food, has a potent antioxidant capacity when compared with other phytochemical-rich foods such as garlic, blueberries, and strawberries. Chocolate products have higher ORAC values than most other flavanol-containing foods.
Cocoa is a potentially rich dietary source of flavonoids”