Maybe you’ve heard about the benefits of chocolate? But, you’re not sure how they can help your life? Well, chocolate lovers, rejoice: science suggests that eating cocoa can improve function in your arteries!
Now, before you grab for the Snickers bars, you’ll want to read more. Not all kinds of chocolate are considered beneficial; the type of chocolate we’ll be talking about in this post is unprocessed, undutched cocoa powder. Let’s take a closer look at what this kind of cocoa can do for your blood vessels:
Benefits of Chocolate: Cocoa Can Improve Blood Flow
Here’s an exciting fact! Within two hours of eating this kind of cocoa, your coronary arteries start working better. That means the vessels in your eyes are able to dilate more quickly. And what about the vessels in your legs? Well, the impact in that area is even more exciting!
Recently, researchers tested 20 patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease to see how cocoa could affect their ability to walk. Remember, with this condition, narrowed arteries lead to reduced blood flow to your legs. As a result, PAD patients often experience painful leg cramps, especially when they walk or exercise, because their legs don’t receive enough blood and oxygen to support increased activity.
During this study, the PAD patients walked for as long as they could, and stopped when they experienced leg cramps. Then, they were given one of two types of chocolate: unsweetened dark chocolate or milk chocolate. Two hours after eating the milk chocolate, the PAD sufferers were barely able to walk their initial baseline distance. But two hours after having unsweetened cocoa, they walked a dozen yards farther and an average of 17 seconds longer than their baseline distances.
Is it time to become chocoholics?
Because people love chocolate, they also love to go on and on about the benefits of chocolate. (And it does have many.) BUT, we must also remember that even dark, unsweetened cocoa is packed with fat and calories. So it’s a potentially beneficial treat that should still be enjoyed in moderation.
Having said that, we all need to indulge a little. So, when you’re ready to make a little cheat? If your cravings steer you towards the chocolate aisle, look for the dark stuff and you may just score a little extra time to walk it off pain-free, after you’re done snacking!
Beyond Diet: Other PAD Treatment Options
Diet alone is usually not enough to treat PAD symptoms. (Even with the benefits of chocolate, or other heart-friendly dietary additions.) Now, exercise can certainly help improve blood flow in your body. And walking workouts can be particularly beneficial, as long as you’re medically cleared for this activity.
Still, most people with advanced PAD will need some sort of medical intervention. Fortunately, in our Houston area offices, we can treat PAD with minimally invasive procedures such as Angioplasty, Stenting, and Atherectomy. hat With most of these options, you won’t need an overnight hospital stay, large incisions or open surgery. That means a shorter recovery time without sacrificing the results you’re seeking.
Want relief from PAD pain? We’re here to help! Simply reach out and schedule an appointment with our team. We can assess your PAD risk and help determine your best next steps to preserve your long-term health.