In a multifaceted study involving the Kuna Indians of Panama, an international team of scientists has pinpointed a chemical compound that is, in part, responsible, for the heart-healthy benefits of certain cocoas and some chocolate products.
The researchers, who are from the University of California, Davis; the Heinrich-Heine University of Duesseldorf, Germany; and Harvard Medical School, hope the findings will lead to new dietary or medicinal methods for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health.
The study showed that epicatechin, one of a group of chemicals known as flavanols, was directly linked to improved circulation and other hallmarks of cardiovascular health. Findings of the study are reported in the Jan. 16 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Considered together, these findings point to epicatechin as one of the compounds found in cocoa that has beneficial impacts on cardiovascular health.
Funding for this research was provided by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Biomedicinisches Forschungszentrum of the University of Duesseldorf and Mars Inc.
Patricia Bailey | EurekAlert!
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