New studies by the EU-funded FLAVIOLA research consortium show that cocoa flavanols could help maintain cardiovascular health as we age
Dusseldorf, Germany (September 9, 2015) – Two recently published studies in the journals Age and the British Journal of Nutrition (BJN), as a part of the FLAVIOLA project, demonstrate that consuming cocoa flavanols improves cardiovascular function and lessens the burden on the heart that comes with the ageing and stiffening of arteries. The studies also provide novel data to indicate that intake of cocoa flavanols reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Cocoa flavanols are plant-derived bioactives from the cacao bean. Earlier studies have demonstrated that cocoa flavanol intake improves the elasticity of blood vessels and lowers blood pressure — but, for the most part, these investigations have focused on high-risk individuals like smokers and people that have already been diagnosed with conditions like hypertension and coronary heart disease.
These two studies in Age and BJN are novel as they are the first to look at the different effects dietary cocoa flavanols can have on the blood vessels of healthy, low-risk individuals with no signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease. The combined results of these studies demonstrate that flavanols are effective at decreasing age-related changes in blood vessels, and thereby reduce the risk of CVD, in healthy individuals.
FLAVIOLA is a pan-European research project, funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission. The project aims to provide crucial insights into the nutritional and biomedical properties of flavanols ranging from the cellular level to their impact on the population at large. FLAVIOLA’s vision is that through collaborative and cutting-edge research, it will lay the foundation for the development of evidence-based dietary recommendations and innovative food products that harness the benefits of flavanols for cardiovascular health. FLAVIOLA members include Heinrich-Heine University (Germany), University of Reading (UK), Maastricht University (Netherlands), INRA French National Institute for Agricultural Research (France), Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), Ghent University (Belgium), SciProm (Switzerland) and Mars, Incorporated.
For more than 20 years, and based on collaborating with a multidisciplinary group of international experts, Mars, Incorporated has been conducting comprehensive and innovative research with a network of scientific collaborators around the world to advance the understanding of cocoa flavanols and their health benefits for the purpose of improving human health. Building on decades of research in cocoa flavanols, the Mars Center for Cocoa Health Science (MCCHS) was formally established in 2012 as a Center of Excellence to pioneer, capture and share the latest scientific research in the field. MCCHS provides access to more than 20 years of gold standard research, over 140 published peer-reviewed scientific papers, videos, slides and other information that Mars, Incorporated and its collaborators have developed to advance cocoa flavanol understanding. For more information, please visit http://www.marscocoascience.com. Follow us: http://twitter.com/CocoaHealthSci
In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’ first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a “mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders” – this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 75,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.
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