This sugary sweet treat lowers heart attack and stroke risk

Attractive woman eating chocolate cake at home on couch

Turns out, eating 2-3 ounces of this indulgent dessert every week could save your life…

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This sugary sweet treat lowers heart attack and stroke risk

Today’s newsletter is NOT about diabetes.

But diabetic men present a good “worst case” scenario. If it works for them. it will work for anyone.

And in fact, cardiovascular disease in diabetic men is often very bad.

Finally there’s something that actually works for these men… and if it works for them, it will work for you too.

So to start with, consider that in type 2 diabetes, blood vessels suffer repeated small injuries.

These injuries cause changes to the structure of the blood vessels.

The stiffening and reshaping of blood vessels in type 2 diabetes is a major factor in the development of cardiovascular disease.

So preventing these changes to the blood vessels is key.

And a recent study shows that adding cocoa to the diet prevents damage to blood vessels in rats with type 2 diabetes.

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These researchers carried out animal experiments at the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de Alimentos y Nutrición, Spain. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research published the results.

Cardiovascular disease is the major health problem for people with type 2 diabetes.

It’s also the main cause of death related to type 2 diabetes.

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes.”

In type 2 diabetes, the walls of the blood vessels become damaged.

This damage leads to stiffening and structural changes in the blood vessels.

“Diabetic macrovascular complications are associated with functional and structural changes resulting in early arterial stiffness and remodeling.”

The aorta is the largest artery. It supplies fresh, oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

A stiffening aorta is one of the primary indicators of cardiovascular disease risk in type 2 diabetes.

“Aortic stiffness is considered a marker of vascular dysfunction and a major predictor of poor cardiovascular outcomes.”

They designed the study to look at the effect of cocoa supplementation on aortic stiffness.

“We investigated the protective effect of a cocoa-rich diet on functional and structural vascular alterations in diabetes and the mechanisms involved.”

The study used rats that are prone to developing diabetes and obesity (Zucker rats).

They fed some of these rats their usual diet and supplemented another group of rats with cocoa.

“Male Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats are fed on a standard diet or cocoa-rich diet from week 10 to 20 of life.”

The researchers also observed a third group of non-diabetic rats fed a normal rat diet (control group used for comparison).

As expected, the diabetic rats developed aortic stiffness.

The remodeling of the blood vessels was accompanied by increased blood pressure in the diabetic animals.

“Diabetic rats showed increased blood pressure and enhanced aortic stiffness, as demonstrated by the increased pulse pressure and the augmented aortic medial thickness with loss and disruption of elastic fibers.”

The researchers found that cocoa prevented changes to blood vessels in the diabetic mice.

“Cocoa intake strongly avoided all these adverse effects and reduced aortic oxidative stress.”

Oxidative stress is increased in type 2 diabetes.

Researchers believe that this is what causes damage to the blood vessels.

Cocoa contains a large amount of antioxidants that block oxidative stress.

Supplementing cocoa could prevent aortic stiffening in type 2 diabetes by decreasing oxidative stress.

“The results demonstrate for the first time that a cocoa-rich diet strongly prevents aortic stiffening and remodeling in diabetic animals and avoids aortic oxidative stress.”

The experiment could explain why chocolate lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attack and stroke.

Chocolate contains cocoa.

A recent study shows that 2 to 3 ounces of chocolate per week is associated with a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease in humans.

Darker chocolate contains more cocoa per ounce.

These rat experiments used Forastero cocoa powder at 10% of the diet by weight.

You should always consult a healthcare practitioner about treating and diagnosing health-related problems.

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Matt Cook is editor-in-chief of Daily Medical Discoveries. Matt has been a full time health researcher for 26 years. ABC News interviewed Matt on sexual health issues not long ago. Matt is widely quoted on over 1,000,000 websites. He has over 300,000 daily newsletter readers. Daily Medical Discoveries finds hidden, buried or ignored medical studies through the lens of 100 years of proven science. Matt heads up the editorial team of scientists and health researchers. Each discovery is based upon primary studies from peer reviewed science sources following the Daily Medical Discoveries 7 Step Process to ensure accuracy.