Type 2 diabetics may benefit from consuming cacao-rich beverages, according to a recent study. Some naturally occurring compounds in cacao, called flavanols, may have increase blood flow in type 2 diabetics, limiting the risk for cardiovascular disease.
According to the study, drinking a flavanol-rich cocoa beverage daily can bring about this positive outcome. Type 2 diabetes is considered to greatly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, in major part due to poor blood vessel function in diabetics. More than 60 percent of deaths related to diabetes are due to cardiovascular events (heart attacks and strokes).
The study was conducted on a group of type 2 diabetics, who were fed cocoa beverages at varying flavanol levels, ranging from 75 to 963 milligrams. Flow mediated dilation (FMD), which is a standard measure of blood vessel health, was measured, and showed to be postively correlated with the amount of flavanols in the beverage.
There was also a 30-day trial conducted on diabetics in which some patients were fed cocoa drinks with 30 milligrams of flavanols daily, and the others were “treated” with 321 milligram flavanol cocoo drinks. According to the study, “participants experienced sustained improvements in blood vessel function upon consuming the flavanol-containing cocoa over a period of 30 days.”
This is the first study of its kind, and further research needs to be done concerning both the positive effects of cocoa consumption for diabetics, and the potential adverse effects. The results are nonetheless promising, as alternative treatments for diabetics is always a welcome addition to a disease that is often difficult to manage.
Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Fromm, Lori. Journal of American College of Cardiology news release. May 2008.