The Emerging Role of Flavonoid-Rich Cocoa and Chocolate in Cardiovascular Health and Disease

Authors

  • Mary B. Engler PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physiological Nursing, Laboratory of Cardiovascular Physiology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.
      Professor, University of California, 2 Koret Way, Suite N631, San Francisco, CA 94143–0610; Phone: 415–476–0984; Fax: 415–476–8899; E-mail: mary.engler@nursing.ucsf.edu.
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  • Marguerite M. Engler PhD

    1. Department of Physiological Nursing, Laboratory of Cardiovascular Physiology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.
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Professor, University of California, 2 Koret Way, Suite N631, San Francisco, CA 94143–0610; Phone: 415–476–0984; Fax: 415–476–8899; E-mail: mary.engler@nursing.ucsf.edu.

Abstract

Cocoa and chocolate have recently been found to be rich plant-derived sources of antioxidant flavonoids with beneficial cardiovascular properties. These favorable physiological effects include: antioxidant activity, vasodilation and blood pressure reduction, inhibition of platelet activity, and decreased inflammation. Increasing evidence from experimental and clinical studies using cocoa-derived products and chocolate suggest an important role for these high-flavanol-containing foods in heart and vascular protection.

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