There are a handful of ways to reduce your risk of heart disease, including maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly — but what about having a sweet tooth? While it doesn’t sound likely, a new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cocoa extract supplements may lower the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
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To obtain their findings, the researchers conducted a randomised study with 21,442 adults from the United States, including 12,666 women and 8,776 men aged 60-years-old or older. The participants were all free of cardiovascular disease and recently diagnosed with cancer. Cocoa extract supplements were given randomly to a group of subjects, as were multivitamins for the placebo from June 2015 through December 2020.
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During a follow-up about 3.6 years after the start of the study, researchers concluded that cocoa extract reduced cardiovascular death by 27 percent. Despite these positive findings, the researchers note that the supplment did not significantly reduce total cardiovascular events among older adults and that further research is needed to clarify whether cocoa extract may reduce clinical heart-related events.
The extract can be used to benefit more than just your heart, though. According to the National Cancer Institute, cocoa extract—a dietary supplement containing cocoa extract derived from the cacao bean—improves insulin sensitivity, enhances cognition, and reduces inflammation. What’s more, cocoa extract exerts antioxidant effects that protect healthy cells from oxidative stress and DNA damage.
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