FEBRUARY 3, 2020

When news broke that eating chocolate could have health benefits, sweets-eaters around the globe rejoiced—finally, a favorite treat that is actually good for us! But is this scoop too good to be true?

Those reported health benefits—like supporting brain and heart health—actually come from cocoa flavanols, a naturally occurring compound in the cacao plant. And published research shows that regular consumption of flavanols does promote healthy blood vessel function and arterial flexibility, helping your blood to deliver the high levels of oxygen and nutrients your heart and brain need to perform at their best.

But before you get too excited about your chocolate treats: not all cocoa is created equal, so it’s really important to know what you’re getting.

Flavanols are very delicate, and easily destroyed during conventional processing. So contrary to popular belief, most popular chocolate products—cocoa powders, dark chocolate and nibs—don’t contain enough cocoa flavanols for you to get a health benefit. Nor do most of these products typically indicate or guarantee a specific concentration of cocoa flavanol per serving. Another caveat: chocolate is fine to enjoy in moderation as a treat, but it contains fat, added sugar, and is calorically-dense.  Since studies show that you need to consume cocoa flavanols daily to get their maximum health benefits, so chocolate is probably not your best bet.

What are Flavonoids & Flavanols?

Flavonoids are a group of compounds made by plants and have a similar shape and chemical structure to one another. Dietary flavonoids are found in the plants we eat, including many fruits and vegetables. Flavanols are a subgroup of the larger flavonoid group, found in a variety of plant-based drinks and foods, including tea, berries, apples and—you guessed it—cocoa.

Of all these sources, cocoa flavanols are unique because they are the most bioavailable, meaning that our bodies are more easily able to absorb them and receive the maximum benefits.

What are the Health Benefits of Flavonoids?

Decades of research show cocoa flavanols support heart, brain, and whole-body health by promoting healthy blood flow. They do this by acting on blood vessels, increasing the body’s production of a compound called nitric oxide (NO). NO causes the thin muscles in and around the blood vessel walls to relax, allowing the blood vessel to dilate, or widen.

We have miles of blood vessels in our bodies, so their ability to function well is critical to our entire cardiovascular system—and everything it impacts: bones, muscles, tissue, organs, metabolic system—basically, our entire bodies. So in addition to supporting heart health, flavanols improve a number of critical functions throughout our body, including maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and delivering more oxygen and nutrients to your brain.

In fact, the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) Study shows cocoa flavanols preserved and even reversed age-related memory decline in healthy older adults!

That’s just one example of health and wellness research the scientists at Mars have been conducting for more than 20 years. In fact, they’ve published more than 150 scientific papers and conducted more than 30 case studies on cocoa flavanols. Take a look at some of their research on the benefits of cocoa flavanols.

The Best Source of Cocoa Flavanols

Because preserving cocoa flavanols during the extraction process is key, our scientists developed the proprietary Cocoapro® process, which gently extracts cocoa flavanols from high-quality cocoa beans, preserving them in the highest concentration available in a supplement today.
We guarantee one serving of capsules and powder have 500 mg of high-quality cocoa flavanols and will support your heart and brain health by promoting healthy blood flow. Whether you prefer the on-the-go convenience of a capsule or want to enjoy the delicious taste of our powdered stick packs, , make sure you’re getting at least 500mg of cocoa flavanols in your diet every day.

The takeaway: while it’s unlikely you’ll get the health benefits of cocoa flavanols from your favorite chocolate treat, cocoa powder, or a mug of hot chocolate, you do have a convenient, tasty low-fat, low-cal and low-carb option available in CocoaVia™.

Learn more about cocoa flavanols—from health benefits to detailed scientific research—and see the difference for yourself by trying CocoaVia™ products for 30 days.

Shop CocoaVia™ Cardio Health to get 500mg of Cocoa Flavanols