A significant body of published research has shown consumption of cocoa flavanols can maintain healthy blood vessel function, thereby helping to support the health and function of the cardiovascular system. The cardiovascular system is an organ system consisting of primarily the blood vessels (arteries, veins, resistant vessels) and the heart that transports nutrients (such as amino acids, glucose, and electrolytes), oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body.
Clinical dietary intervention studies have linked consumption of cocoa flavanols to a number of cardiovascular health benefits in study participants both young and old, healthy and unhealthy. The studies have extended to include certain at-risk segments of the population who may be at higher risk of cardiovascular complications, including those who are overweight or obese, those who have diabetes, and smokers.
Research has suggested that dietary consumption of cocoa flavanols supports the production of nitric oxide, which triggers the muscles in the arterial wall to relax. This relaxation facilitates the healthy flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the body.