Mug of tasty hot chocolate on table

Treat Yourself to a Hot Chocolate This Weekend If You Want Healthy Veins

If you’re suffering from peripheral artery disease and looking for some relief from the painful, limiting condition, then here’s a great one for you.

A recent study has shown that a daily cup of hot chocolate can ease pain, improve walking distance, boost blood flow, and enhance muscle health and function.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a major cause of disability in people over 55. It’s when blood vessels in the legs narrow, limiting the supply of blood available to the lower body. This is a problem because your legs have big muscles and a heavy workload that require plenty of oxygenated blood.

There are a limited number of therapies that can help treat the condition, and it seems like hot chocolate might be one of them.

But I’m not talking about the steamy, thick milk chocolate with marshmallows sitting on top. That stuff won’t help. To get the benefits, you’ll need to reach for dark chocolate options with at least 85% pure cacao.

Cacao is a great source of antioxidant compounds called flavanols. One in particular, epicatechin, has been shown to have a unique effect on blood pressure. It can relax veins and allow blood to flow more freely.

The small study looked at 44 people, at an average age of 72, all with PAD. For six months, they were given a mixture of warm milk and a packet of cocoa with epicatechin or a placebo. They drank it three times per day.

At the end of the study, people given cocoa showed a 20% improvement in blood flow, muscle health and function, and were also able to walk further in a six-minute test than the control group.

Cacao, of course, is not the only source of flavanols. But it might be the most enjoyable (if you like the bitter taste of dark chocolate). Other foods with it include green veggies, berries, apples, and tea.

If you suffer from PAD, indulge yourself with a hot chocolate each day. It’s unlikely to lead to weight gain—just remember it needs to be at least 85% cacao and free of sugars and other additives.


Author Bio

Devon Andre has been involved in the health and dietary supplement industry for a number of years. Devon has written extensively for Bel Marra Health. He has a Bachelor of Forensic Science from the University of Windsor, and went on to complete a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. Devon is keenly aware of trends and new developments in the area of health and wellness. He embraces an active lifestyle combining diet, exercise and healthy choices. By working to inform readers of the options available to them, he hopes to improve their health and quality of life.

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